Poppy appeal tray

Poppy Collection Cash Box Stolen In East London

The funds were stolen from a parked car in Ilford.

Poppy appeal tray

Library image of a tray of poppies (Picture: MOD).

A poppy collection box has been stolen from a group of RAF cadets in London.

Poppy collector David Stephens described how one of his colleagues was left devastated after waking up to find the Royal British Legion collection gone.

The thief seemingly opened the boot of a car where the funds were stored in Ilford, East London, broke the seal and stole the money.

Mr Stephens organises collections on behalf of the 4F Ilford Squadron, RAF Air Cadets in the run-up to Armistice Day on 11 November.

He said: "It's a shame because it's not us suffering, it is the sick and injured ex-servicemen we are trying to raise money for. Why would someone do that?

"Stealing collected money is tantamount to stealing our support for those who richly deserve it.

"They are the lowest of the low."

He has no idea how much money was raised as the poppy appeal was only launched on Saturday.

But groups had spent the day collecting money around Newbury Park, meaning their hard work has been for nothing.

Mr Stephens, who is the civilian committee chairman for the cadets, said: "Luckily this means it won't have been a great sum, but it's not the point."

Undeterred, however, the cadets are planning to continue raising money over the next two weeks to make good on the loss and will parade at the Ilford War Memorial on the morning of Sunday 11 November 11.

Mr Stephens added: "I am very angry. There is no need for that."

Police are investigating the matter.