AN ROMANIAN Migrant gang is allegedly behind a string of charity collection box thefts in Bolton, Greater Manchester, Politicalite can reveal.
The poppy collection boxes were supplied by Bolton Armed Forces Centre, who supplied the Cosy Cafe in Bolton with a collection box, the other store – Signature Textiles had a charity box stolen that was raising money for Annabelle’s Challenge, a charity supporting families affected by Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS).
Emma MacDonald, 26 who is the owner of ‘The Cosy Cafe’ on Bolton Market spoke to Politicalite and said the theft was “100% planned” and revealed up to “seven” other boxes were stolen in Bolton on the same day.
“On Saturday afternoon three Romanian women came into my cafe.” said Emma.
“They asked me for a menu. I passed her one and she was looking at it, I carried on serving other customers. It was an extremely busy Saturday afternoon.”
“Looking back now at CCTV as I had turned my back she [stole] the poppy box and put it into her bag hiding it behind the menu.”
“This was 100% planned as two Romanian women came into the cafe on Friday afternoon but we weren’t busy then and put some money in the box. I presume she was seeing if there was anything in it and if it was worth coming back for.”
Emma added that she only realised when the shop next door also had a charity box stolen allegedly by the same people.”
Mrs MacDonald said she has been left “absolutely heartbroken and furious” that someone could stoop so low to do such a thing.
“Some people have no morals. Bolton Armed Forces Centre supplied us with the poppy appeal box. They heard the news and came and brought us another one.”
WATCH: ROMANIAN MIGRANT BRAZENLY STEALS POPPY BOX
“We have now had to put it away under the counter we will just get it out as and when people would like to donate. But all our staff tips will be going into the new poppy appeal box this week.”
“Lots of people of Bolton know these women.” said Emma, she accused the Romanian gang of “begging” outside a Mosque on Derby Street every Friday afternoon with a cardboard sign claiming to be poor.
Megan Hudson, 20 the owner of Signature Textiles in Bolton told Politicalite: “I was working alone in the shop at the time, one of the women called me over from behind the counter to the top end of the shop to distract me by asking prices, whilst her accomplice swiped the charity box into her bag.”
“They’d both left the shop before I got back to the till and realised what had happened.”
“I’m angry and quite disheartened about what’s happened, but determined to find this thief.”
“The charity we were raising money for is very close to my heart as my mother is Annabelle’s one to one carer at primary school. This incident was reported to the police, but we’re still waiting on a reply.”