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Landlord slams 'despicable' pub charity boxes theft

Hundreds of pounds of donations were stolen from the Old England Forever in Clayton-le-Moors

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John Hodgkiss, landlord of the Old England Forever pub in Clayton-le-Moors

A pub landlord has hit out at ‘despicable’ thieves who stole charity boxes containing hundreds of pounds.

The donated money was stolen from the Old England Forever pub on Church Street in Clayton-le-Moors in the early hours of Sunday, June 17.

The boxes were estimated to have contained between £200 and £300 - they had been on the bar and were regularly used by punters who often chipped in.

Landlord John Hodgkiss says all his regular customers were angry and upset about the theft.

He said: “It’s despicable the fact they’ve stolen charity boxes that people have donated money for that’s going to people that are a lot worse off than anyone else.

“We’ve had break-ins before but nobody has ever taken charity boxes.

“There is a sort of ‘honour amongst thieves’ that they don’t take charity boxes, but what can you do? Do you chain them down to the bar?

“That doesn’t seem right to me - you don’t expect them to be stolen.

“The one for the hospice was full, and I know full well there were notes and large change in there.

“I think around 200 or 300 pounds in total - which is a lot of money for those charities.”

The pub was raising money for the Clayton Boxing Club, the East Lancashire Hospice and Laura’s Wish. John says that the pub’s World Cup sweepstake prize of £140 had been taken as well as the donation boxes.

He said: “We have had a sweepstake for the World Cup and that’s gone too.

“People have said if their team wins, they’ll just put that amount back into the charity box.”

John said the charity boxes, which are now with the police, were found on a nearby street a few yards from the pub.

The boxes had been emptied of cash and had been dumped alongside some of the copper coins and small change that was still inside them.

Police said the ‘despicable’ theft took place between 1am and 7.30am after offenders broke in through a kitchen window.

A spokesperson for Lancashire police said: “Four charity boxes were stolen containing hundreds of pounds for local charities. The empty charity boxes have been recovered and enquiries are ongoing to identify the offenders.

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“I have no doubt we will catch those responsible, however if you have any information please call 101 quoting Log LC-20180617-0423.”