WICKED and deplorable – that is how police have described the theft of Poppy Appeal tins from seven shops across the borough.
This year’s Poppy Appeal has taken on even more significance as it is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.
But that has not stopped the disgusting actions of the thieves who have stolen the fundraising tins from seven stores in Knowle, Balsall Common, Hampton in Arden, Meriden and Fillongley over two days on Monday, October 27 and Tuesday, October 28
At around 11.35am on Monday, 27 October, two men walked into Meriden Tea Rooms on Fillongley Road. One of them concealed the poppy tin on the counter under his jacket before walking out of the café with it. They were then seen getting into a green coloured car − possibly a Ford Focus.
At around 2pm, a poppy collection tin was stolen from Balsall Common Pharmacy after a man walked in and placed it in a plastic bag.
Later that day at around 6.30pm, a man entered One Stop in Knowle and tried to steal a poppy tin by cutting the string attaching it to the counter.
However, a member of staff caught him in the act and he then left the shop. Half an hour later, at around 7pm, a tin was stolen from Threshers on Widney Road also in Knowle.
The next day, a man walked into Murco petrol station on Kenilworth Road, Knowle, at around 2pm, again hiding a tin under his jacket before walking out with it.
Officers are also looking into reports that Lloyds Pharmacy in Meriden, Blooms Garden Centre in Hampton-in-Arden, and One Stop, the butchers and dry cleaners − all in Balsall Common – have also been targeted.
Inspector Allan Green from Solihull is investigating the thefts.
He said: “There are no circumstances under which such thefts are justifiable. This is a wicked and deplorable crime and we need the public to help us catch those responsible.
“This money was intended for service men and women, veterans and their families − people who have risked their lives for our country, and the loved ones of those who gave their lives doing so.”
Earlier this week police released CCTV footage of two men.
And thanks to the images being circulated on social media, two possible suspects in the case were identified within an hour.
A 21-year-old man from Coventry has been arrested and officers have also been given the name of another man they are trying to track down.