CCTV captures thief stealing charity collection box from Devizes pub

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The thief checks that the coast is clear The thief checks that the coast is clear

Footage of a man allegedly stealing a charity box collecting money for Devizes Opportunity Centre is on Facebook.

The brazen theft shows a man standing up at the bar of the Black Swan Hotel in Devizes Market Place with a glass of lager.

While bar staff were away from the bar the man looks around, calmly takes what appears to be scissors out of his pocket and cuts the string that attached the charity box to a pump on the bar.

Soon afterwards a member of staff walks behind the bar and the man carries on drinking while at times looking over his shoulder.

Then when the coast is clear the man picks up the charity box and puts it into his jacket, finishes up his drink and leaves.

As he leaves he puts his hand on another charity box on the bar but that is chained and he walks out of the hotel.

The theft happened at about 4.36pm on Wednesday. Staff spotted the charity box had gone later that day but thought that the organiser of it had collected it. It wasn’t until yesterday when the staff looked at the hotel’s CCTV footage that they saw what had happened.

They put the footage on Facebook and reported it the police.

Charlotte Wright, assistant manager at the Black Swan, said the suspect had been in the hotel a few times previously.

She said: “He must have come in here with the intention of stealing the charity box as he had scissors in his pocket and used them to cut the string off the box.

"Stealing a children’s charity box is disgusting. We have a few other charity boxes, including Wiltshire Air Ambulance, on the bar which we keep chained up.”

The suspect is thought to be in his mid thirties.

The charity box was put in the Black Swan about three months ago by taxi firm boss Dave Malloy who responded to the Gazette’s appeal to raise money for Devizes Opportunity Centre.

The centre, which looks after babies and youngsters up to the age of five with learning difficulties and health problems, had its funding cut by £10,000.

He has put several charity boxes for the Opportunity Centre in various pubs in the town. He recently presented £800 to the Opportunity Centre from events he helped to organise at the Dolphin pub, Devizes.

Mr Malloy said of the theft of the charity box: “A charity box can hold up to £150. I just can’t understand how someone could do this.

"The person who stole it is a waste of oxygen. The staff at the Opportunity Centre do wonderful work.”

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