“Please buy your poppy here!” is the plea from a Spalding hair salon after “low-life scum” jimmied the door on Saturday night and snatched the appeal collection box.
A poster has been placed in the window of Dad’ll Have A Grumble in Victoria Street urging passers-by who have not bought their poppy yet to get one there.
Michelle Lawson, who runs the family business, said it has made staff at the salon more determined than ever to sell every poppy.
She said: “I’m absolutely disgusted. It’s not the evening spent with police or the crime scene investigator, or the cost of repairs and the time it took clearing up.
“It’s not the way your heart stops when you hear you have a phone call from the police control room.
“It’s the lack of absolute respect that someone could steal Remembrance Day money meant for the families of soldiers who fought and have lost life and limb for this country.
“We would like to sell the remaining poppies we have – every single one of them – to show that despite the thief’s disgusting efforts we had the best collection ever.
“When the British Legion come to collect we want to give the bad news first and then the good news.
“So if you still need to buy a poppy pop in – or message us on our Facebook page.”
Mrs Lawson said she was enjoying a Saturday night meal with her partner, Stephen Stenhouse, when the phone rang.
She said: “I thought I’d pick up it up later because we were having a nice night in but then when I heard the message to get in touch with police my heart went in my mouth.
“My brother died suddenly a year ago when he was just 46 and I’m still not over that. I immediately worried something had happened to a member of my family and for a split second when I was told it was a burglary there was a sense of relief.
“That was until I saw all the mess while stood outside the shop in the dark and cold waiting for the crime scene investigator to finish.
“I suddenly had a thought and asked an officer to shine a torch at the desk - and it was then I saw the poppy appeal box had gone.
“That was all that was missing. We’ve only had it a few days and usually put it in a safe place out of sight but we had had a particularly busy day and had forgotten.
“This isn’t the first time we have been targeted. About 10 years ago someone stole charity shops from the whole street. But they won’t get the opportunity again because the money will not be kept on the premises.
”We understand the police have some good witnesses. I must say they have been brilliant throughout.”
Peter Lyon, chairman of the Spalding branch of the Royal British Legion, has applauded the salon’s “bulldog spirit” to battle on.
He said: “Anyone who steals an appeal box from us is low-life scum. They cannot have any faith or belief or ever think about the fallen or victims of war.
“What the salon is doing is admirable and a true example of the British bulldog spirit to battle on.
“It may only have been a small amount that the thief stole from us but every penny counts.”
Any witness or person with information is asked to call police on 101.