Locals in Maesteg, Wales, have been left shocked after two thieves stole poppy collection tins from a Royal British Legion club in the early hours of Armistice Day.
Six poppy appeal collection tins were taken in the raid – just hours before the nation fell silent to remember her war dead.
After smashing into the club with crow bars the thieves also £100 in cash, a glass full of staff tips, money from a pool table and fruit machine, and two bottles of Jack Daniels, Wales Online has reported.
“They robbed ex-servicemen, really,” club secretary David Roberts said.
“It’s terrible. They could not have picked a worse time to do it.
“It doesn’t reflect well on them.
“There is supposed to be honour among thieves but doing this two days before Remembrance Sunday is a bit much.”
“They should be ashamed of themselves,” he said. “Everyone is disgusted about the time of year it happened.”
It is not known how much money was in the collection tins because they were sealed. But Mr Roberts said the anger was not about the money.
“We do not know how much money was in the collection boxes, they are sealed. But put it like this – they were ready to be picked up because the collection ends this Sunday.
“God help them if they are found because things like that are hard to swallow. It may not have been a great deal of money but it’s the principle.”
The tins were found empty along with the box from the pool table about half a mile from the club. However, Mr Roberts said the raid could have been much worse as the thieves tried, but failed, to access the area where the club’s safe is kept.
A Justgiving page has been set up by local resident Anne Seldon to try to recoup poppy appeal funds taken by the thieves.
“The Royal British Legion in Maesteg has been performing excellent work in the Llynfi Valley for decades and continues to raise money to provide help and support to current and ex servicemen and women,” she wrote on the page.
“This appeal hopes to go some way to recouping some of the losses so that the Royal British Legion in Maesteg can continue helping our brave soldiers, sailors and airmen in the future.”
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “During the early hours of Friday, November 11, between 3.30am and 4.15am, a burglary occurred at the Royal British Legion Club, Commercial Street, Maesteg.
“During this incident a number of Poppy Appeal money boxes were stolen as well as a quantity of cash, and a gambling machine money box.
“This has caused the staff, the club, and committee members a great deal of distress with it being Remembrance Day.
“This burglary demonstrates how disrespectful and callous these criminals are, acting in this manner, on such an important day.
“It appears the persons responsible have then made their way to Welfare Park, Maesteg, where they have discarded some of the items that they have stolen from the legion club.”