Callous thieves have stolen a collection tin raising money for this year’s Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
The crime took place from a special memorial of a statue of a soldier made out of poppies, which had been placed within Doncaster Minster to mark Armistice Day.
Legion member Eddie Leek, 53, of Westongales Way, Bentley, has branded the culprits “toe rags”.
He said: “We went to collect the tin which had been left alongside the poppy man statue for donations to be made but it had been pinched.
“The minster reckons there must have been about £300 in it. Because the minster is open to the public we don’t know when it was actually taken.”
Mr Leek served in the Army for 22 years, including time in Kosovo, and was a telecommunications operator in the Royal Signals.
Each year the legion raises millions to help support war heroes past and present and their families through its Poppy Appeal.
Mr Leek added: “At the end of the day it is left there for people to make donations. We try and raise as much money as we can.
“It’s gut wrenching. To find out a toe rag has stolen it is unbelievable. It’s not just the money, it’s what it stands for.”
Diane Dernie, mum of Bessacarr soldier Ben Parkinson who lost both his legs and suffered brain damage during an explosion while serving in Afghanistan, said the theft was “disgraceful”.
“Every right thinking person must be absolutely disgusted,” she said. Canon Rev Dr Paul Shackerley, vicar of Doncaster, said that despite this “disappointing incidence” the minster would remain committed to the appeal and to keeping the minster open to the public.
He added: “We share the disappointment of the RBL of the action of the minority.”