A THIEF stole a Poppy charity tin from a shop on Remembrance Day by giving staff members a fake one instead.

An unlabelled charity box was given to staff at the Mini Market on Elphinstone Road in Tranent by a robber who said he was there to collect it on Monday, November 11.

He swapped the real box, which was full of donations for charity Poppyscotland, for a fake one and left with it.

The shop owner, who took over the business six weeks ago, said he didn’t suspect a crime until David Forrest, chairperson for Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council, came to collect the box for Poppyscotland two days later.

Business owner Muhammad Akbar, 36, said: “Someone came in on Monday in the morning and told me that they were from Poppyscotland and they were collecting the charity box.

“We have just taken over the shop so we didn’t know who we were meant to be looking out for, so we said that it was fine and they took the box away and left the other one. It was a man in his forties.

“I was quite shocked that someone would steal from a charity."

He added that there had unfortunately been an issue with CCTV at the time of the theft.

Community council chair Mr Forrest said: “For someone to steal money from Poppyscotland they have to be pretty low.

"It was on Remembrance Day that they took it.

“I went into collect the box on Wednesday morning, the gentleman who was in there told me that someone came in and collected it on Monday.

“In that shop we can get a full collection box with between £10 and £20.

“It’s not about the money, it’s about the principle.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Police received the report of a theft from a premises on New Row, Tranent around 11.20am on Thursday, 14 November. Enquiries are ongoing."