Pub landlord fury at theft of charity box

Alan Key, Landlord at the Malt 'n' Hops, Chorley
Alan Key, Landlord at the Malt 'n' Hops, Chorley

A ‘low-life’ thief stole a pub’s charity collection – during opening hours – and escaped with thousands of pounds.

The Malt ’n’ Hops on Friday Street, Chorley, had a Help for Heroes bottle taken which contained more than £3,000.

The intruder entered the pub with a patterned motorbike helmet on and stole with the bottle which weighed 70kg.

Landlord Alan Key, said: “I’m just absolutely gutted, I really am. I can’t believe anybody would do this especially to a charity box.

“I’d understand if they stole the money from the till, but not a charity box – definitely not.”

The incident happened last Tuesday at 9.40pm.

The intruder looked several times through the windows and walked into the pub to check it was all clear.

He then entered the pub pulling the bottle off the bar and walked out of the pub, which is seen clearly on CCTV footage.

Mr Key added: “At the time I was upstairs preparing the hotpot for the quiz night we have on a Wednesday, and the person behind the bar went into the cellar to bottle up.

“I think it’s somebody who has been in the pub before, as they knew what to look for.

“And he struggled to carry the bottle out of the pub – you can tell that from the CCTV.”

Mr Key is determined not to be beaten and has already set his sights on starting the collection again.

He added: “We won’t be beaten by a low life like this, and already I’m planning to start again to show how strong we are.

“Everybody in the pub is absolutely gutted at the end of the day it was their money and it’s been taken away, everybody is devastated.

“All we need to do now is find a bottle so we can start all the charity raising again.”

Mr Key, who is originally from Manchester, praised his customers and the loyalty that has been shown in the pub.

He said: “I’m surprised this has happened here – at this pub you could drop your wallet or your phone and it would be handed into us.

“My cleaner found two pound coins on the floor and handed them in – that is how honest we are here.

“I can even go in the cellar and the customers won’t do anything – they will happily wait until I’m back.”

PC Nicola Jackson said: “If anybody has any information about this incident, I would ask them to contact us.

“I am also keen to speak with anybody who thinks they recognise the man captured on CCTV.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 and quote log number