09:08AM, Friday 16 November 2012
An angry war hero says girls who stole a Poppy Appeal collection box from a Windsor hotel just hours after Remembrance Sunday have 'disrespected' British troops and our nation.
The charity tin was swiped from the reception desk at the Sir Christopher Wren Hotel in Thames Street on Monday at 4am.
Hotel CCTV footage shows three girls talking to a night shift manager before one of them casually slips the box, containing more than £50, into her handbag.
Police are trying to track down the thieves, who are all believed to be in their late teens or early 20s and were not guests at the four star hotel.
Outraged former soldier David Ball, honorary branch secretary of the Royal British Legion (RBL) in Dedworth and Windsor, said it is 'really sad'.
The 60-year-old said: "It is an absolutely despicable act and nobody is that despicable surely. That clown may get or ask for help in the future.
"They have disrespected our troops."
The father-of-two, of Foster Avenue, spent 22 years in the Scots Guards at Victoria Barracks and added he hopes the thief gets '20 years' behind bars.
Cash from the RBL Poppy Appeal supports ex-servicemen, their dependants, support soldier recovery centres and pay for other health and welfare work.
Hotel general manager Jutta Staude, said the girls distracted her night manager, telling him a story about being 'touched inappropriately by a taxi driver'.
She said: "CCTV shows one of them standing in front of him so he could not see the girl stealing the box and putting it into her handbag. It is so wrong.
"What are you meant to do? - tie the box to something."
Jutta said she is 'disgusted' and the hotel will give a cheque to the Poppy Appeal to cover money collected.
She added they booked the girls a taxi with Windsor Cars to Chalvey in Slough, and the taxi company told her a driver found the empty collection box dumped under a seat.
The force said they are carrying out investigations, including viewing CCTV, and appealed for people to come forward with information.
Call police on 101.
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