POLICE lying in wait to catch a charity collection box thief were shocked when a member of the public attemped to make off with the proceeds.
A thief who snatched a collection box from Halton Haven charity shop, Main Street, Frodsham at noon last Thursday stashed his ill-gotten gains in Morrison’s car park.
Police officers waiting for the offender to return were appalled when a passer-by who discovered the charity box tried to steal it for himself.
Inspector Phil Hodgson explained: “The tin had been taken from a local charity shop and then this bloke has chanced upon it and decided to have it.
“The fact that this crime has been committed by two separate offenders makes it even more repulsive.
“We believe that the original thief was going to come back and get the tin, the whole offence is pretty low.”
Inspector Hodgson cautioned the Frodsham man and returned the collection box to Halton Haven charity shop.
Police are still searching for the original thief who hasn’t been seen in the area since.
Paula Widdas, head of fundraising for Halton Haven Hospice, said: “When events like this happen in the area it is disheartening to say the least.
“With our shops doing so well in Frodsham, and so many businesses supporting us, it's sad to know that there are a small minority of people who can do such a thing.
He added: “The stolen money has been safely returned to the hospice and we're so grateful to local police for everything they have done.”