'Despicable' theft of Helston church poppy appeal tin
The theft of a poppy appeal collection tin from a church in Cornwall has sparked anger among parishioners.
The tin was stolen from the lobby of the Central Methodist Church in Helston on Thursday.
The Reverend Danny Reed said: "That someone should come and steal from the appeal, and within chapel, is very, very sad and disappointing.
"I cannot describe how I'm feeling. My initial reaction was rage and to an extent still is."
Local people, including those who have knitted poppies to decorate the Methodist chapel ahead of Armistice Day, reacted on social media, calling the theft "despicable", "disrespectful", "shocking" and "disgraceful".
"We feel really disappointed and shaken that anyone would stoop so low," Rev Reed's wife Sarah said.
On his Facebook page, Rev Reed said the church's benevolent team would have helped anyone in need and probably given them food and practical help "amounting to more than was in the poppy appeal tin".
Despite admitting to be "downhearted" by the theft, he said the church would continue to "do its bit" to help the community and a donation would be given to the poppy appeal.
The Royal British Legion's annual poppy appeal raises money to help serving men and women as well as veterans and their families.
Devon and Cornwall Police said the theft was being investigated.