Poppy tin thief caught on CCTV jailed

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Media captionMcNeil spent the money on his bus fare, magistrates were told

A man who was caught on CCTV stealing a poppy collection box has been jailed for 18 weeks.

Christopher McNeil told police he "couldn't stoop any lower" after he took the box from Argos in Derby on 31 October.

The 33-year-old threw the box in a river and spent the £4 inside on his bus fare home, magistrates were told.

McNeil, of Oakwood, Derby, who admitted the theft, said he understood the public outrage at his crime.

Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption Drugs became part of Christopher McNeil's life after his daughter died, the court heard.

The Royal British Legion collection tin was on a jewellery counter at the shop in London Road.

CCTV showed him walk in the store holding a green shopping bag. He can be seen taking the tin off the counter and walking out with it.

The heroin addict, who has a history of offending, was arrested and during an interview on Thursday he told police he "wished he had never done it".

Fiona Brooks, prosecuting, said considering it was the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, this crime had caused "considerable public outrage".

In mitigation, John Young said McNeill understood the outrage. He added drugs have become part of McNeil's life since his daughter died in 2012

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail and must pay £85 in costs.

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