A landlord has slammed ‘scumbag’ thieves who broke into his pub and helped themselves to hundreds of pounds of cash collected for charity.
Stephen and Suzanne Lucas, of the New Inn, Sidley, were met with a scene of devastation on Wednesday morning (January 27) following the overnight raid.
Thieves forced their way into the building via the cellar, stealing £1,500 worth of spirits, and tried to smash their way into an empty fruit machine, causing £3,000 of damage.
But it was the theft of several collection buckets which has left Stephen seething.
He said: “The damage to the door and the alcohol is all insured. I do not care about it.
“It’s all the money that the community is getting together and then some scumbag comes in and helps themselves.
“It’s the fact they’re stealing off their neighbours that really grates.”
The largest collection was for SERV Sussex, a charity which provides night time transportation of blood and urgent medical items to NHS hospitals.
Stephen, a volunteer rider for the charity, said: “We had a box for them which was really heavy.
“We have been collecting like mad. I guess there was £300 or £400 in there.”
Other collection boxes, including one for St Michael’s Hospice, were also stolen, along with a collection to pay for local children to go to the pantomime at Christmas.
Stephen and Suzanne, who live at the pub with their daughter and son-in-law, took over at the New Inn in October last year.
Stephen said: “We were really working hard to make the place as homely as possible, get the families back in, and this happens.
“It’s a kick in the teeth.
“The regulars and locals are really nice people and they are horrified.
“It’s quite upsetting.”
Despite their thieving spree, the intruders left behind £700 of malt whiskey - emptying the bottles from a carrier bag to use to transport cheaper spirits.
Stephen added: “They weren’t exactly the Kray Twins.”
The theft happened some time between midnight and 5am.
Police have carried out house to house enquiries, but anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious, or is offered cheap bottles of alcohol, is asked to email email@example.com or phone 101, quoting serial 0210 of 27/01.
Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111