Posted on 14th November 2014
A man who was filmed stealing a Royal British Legion collection box from a city centre store has been locked up.
Christopher McNeil walked into Argos, in London Road, on the afternoon of Friday, October 31 and loitered around a jewellery counter.
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard that he then removed the Poppy Appeal box – which contained about £4 – before stowing it under his jacket and leaving the store.
The theft was captured on CCTV and Derbyshire Constabulary issued a YouTube video appealing for people to help identify the offender.
The clip was watched more than 7,400 times in the space of a week and led to numerous calls from viewers.
McNeil, of Tenby Close, Oakwood, was identified and officers from Derby City Safer Neighbourhood Team arrested him yesterday.
The 33-year-old was charged with theft and appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court this morning, where he admitted the offence. He has been jailed for 18 weeks.
Sergeant Brian Clifton, who leads the city centre team, said: “This was a despicable crime that truly struck a chord with the public.
“Charities rely on donations and to steal a collection tin from any of them is deplorable. Our officers carried out extensive inquiries to identify the thief and it is thanks to members of the public that we have been able to identify, arrest and charge him.
“I’m grateful to anyone who shared the appeal or phoned in with information. This is an excellent example of the police and the community working together to find the offender and bring him to justice.”