Lewis Aldous who stole a poppy collection tin from Wymondham One Stop gets community order after guilty plea
PUBLISHED: 14:16 20 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:09 20 June 2017
Charity volunteers have spoken of their anger after a man's "inexcusable" theft of a Poppy Appeal collection tin in the run-up to Armistice Day.
Lewis Aldous, 29, of Avenue Road, Wymondham was ordered to do 50 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months by Norwich Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to theft, which took place on November 9 last year.
Aldous claimed he accidentally put some “gold sovereign” coins into the collection box at the One Stop Convenience store in Market Road, Wymondham and asked staff if he could get them out of the box - but was told there was nothing they could do.
Aldous claimed that after he retrieved his sovereigns, he later put the rest of the money into another collection tin, the court heard on June 14.
He was also ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge.
PC Andrew Birch, from Norfolk Police’s Wymondham-based custody investigation unit, said the theft had been “inexcusable”.
PC Birch said: “I was pleased with the verdict delivered by the magistrates and that they choose not to believe the far-fetched version of events that Lewis Aldous had claimed.
“Stealing from a charity is inexcusable.”
The incident had been caught on the store’s CCTV.
Ann Rogerson, Royal British Legion Wymondham branch secretary and Poppy Appeal organiser, said she was initially shocked at the crime.
“At the time it had led her to question whether the hard work she and others did for charity was worth it.
But Mrs Rogerson said she felt pleased about the sentence and that justice had been done.
She said: “It’s reasonable. He pleaded guilty in the end.
“I felt very angry at the time and it did knock my conscience when I found out.
“It made me wonder why I was doing this. But he has got his punishment.”
Mrs Rogerson said there was probably about £30 to £40 in the collection tin, which she discovered had been stolen on Armistice Day itself, November 11.
She said: “I had changed it only a few days before so there wasn’t as much in it as he might have hoped.”
Mrs Rogerson said planning was already underway for this year’s Poppy Appeal.