By Steve Hayes 24/02 Updated: 02/03 09:36
POLICE have slammed a heartless thief after he was jailed for stealing poppy collection tins from shop counters in Stratford and Henley.
Tyrone McDermott, 31, of no fixed address, was jailed for 32 weeks, eight weeks for each of his thefts, after pleading guilty in front of Solihull Magistrates and he was also ordered to pay the British Legion £50 in compensation.
Last November we reported the theft of poppy tins from the town's Co-Op and One Stop stores after the town's British Legion chairman, Dennis Cox, branded the thefts 'despicable'.
And McDermott was finally charged with the offences earlier this month - along with the theft of two other poppy collection boxes in Stratford and in Solihull.
Magistrates told McDermott stealing from a well respected, public supported charity left them with no option but to impose a prison sentence.
McDermott distracted a staff member at Thresher's Wine shop in Station Approach, Dorridge, on November 12 last year before swiping the collection tin and passing it to an accomplice.
Officers from Solihull Police investigated the charity box thefts in Henley and after examining CCTV, detectives saw a man matching McDermott's description.
When quizzed by police McDermott admitted the offences plus another poppy tin theft from The Corner Shop in Stratford on November 7.
PC Paul Dempsey, of Warwickshire Police, slammed McDermott.
He said: "These are truly callous thefts, taking money donated by members of the public and intended for the families of armed service personnel who have been killed or injured in the line of duty.
"The amount of money stolen is relatively small but, as the magistrates emphasised, it is the despicable nature of knowingly depriving a much-loved charity of funds that led them to impose a jail sentence.
"Anyone else thinking that charity collection boxes are a quick-win theft can also expect to be jailed when we catch up with them."
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