A charity collection box for the air ambulance was stolen from a small shop in Horsham days before it was due to be emptied and donated.
Shop owner Colin Martin said he is ‘angry’ after the tin collecting change for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance was swiped from Angling Specialists Horsham in Queen Street.
Colin, 73, who lives in Horsham and has been running the independent shop for 35 years, estimated the tin contained around £50 in change.
He thanked people who have made donations since he placed a sign detailing the theft on the shop’s front door.
He said: “People have read the notice in the window, and the amount of people who have put money in the box who don’t even go fishing has been surprising and quite nice.
“I would like to thank the public that have put money in since the sign went up, especially those people that don’t go fishing.”
Colin explained this incident is the worst he has experienced in the 35 years the shop has been in business.
He placed a sarcastic note ‘thanking’ the thief on the shop’s door after the crime, which occurred two days before a charity representative was due to collect the tin.
The note reads: “Thank you to the person that stole the air ambulance collection tin from our counter. We hope you will not be requiring their assistance in the future.”
Colin added: “I am angry that someone can walk in my shop and nick something that isn’t even mine. I would like to get hold of the person.
“It was the heaviest we have ever had it, it was really full.
“It was more £1 and 50p coins than coppers.”
The collection tin usually contains around £40 when it is emptied every month or two.
The angling shop has been supporting the charity for around six or seven years.
As well as the collection tin, 5p is donated for every carrier bag sold in store.
Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance receives no statutory government or National Lottery funding and relies almost entirely on public donations.
Collection box co-ordinator Megan Hand said: “On the rare occasion that this happens, we’re always disappointed as people have been generous enough to donate their small change.
“The charity receives more than £160,000 each year from collection boxes across the region which is fantastic.
“Housing one of our collection boxes is a great way to support the air ambulance. If you would like a box for your shop or pub, please get in touch on 01622 833833. A chain can be provided and one of our volunteers will be assigned to look after your box. Thank you for your support.”
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