Leighton Buzzard landlord raising money for Clic Sargent after charity tins stolen from pub

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A Leighton Buzzard landlord is raising money for Clic Sargent after two donation tins were stolen from his pub by a callous thief.

James Drew, of The Golden Bell, has launched a Facebook birthday appeal for the children’s cancer charity, as he aims to make up for the money that was taken.

At 2am on Sunday, January 31, a man broke in via the pub’s front door and took two charity tins - one for Clic Sargent and one for Kids-Out - smuggling them into his jacket before taking off on his bike.

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James, whose birthday is today (February 9), told the LBO: “The daughter of one of our customers died a few years back. There’s a lot of people that drink here who know him very well; that’s why I chose to fundraise for Clic Sargent for my birthday.

CCTV from The Golden BellCCTV from The Golden Bell
CCTV from The Golden Bell

“I’m so impressed that in the space of one day we raised up to £425. Thank you to every single person who has donated!

“We are also opposite Kids-Out; if anyone would like to donate and help them, please visit their website.”

James informed the LBO that the break-in is being investigated by Bedfordshire Police, and claims that a similar looking man was also spotted lurking around two other pubs on the same evening.

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He estimates that around £20 was taken from the charity tins, while the replacement door could cost £1-2,000 (the damaged one is currently boarded up).

Describing the break-in captured on CCTV, James said: “There was a young guy on a bike, wearing a mask and with his hood up and gloves. He kicked the bottom panel of our door out, grabbed the two charity pots off the bar, and put them up his jumper. Then he was back on his bike and gone.

"We live here with our three children and the alarm woke us up. We came downstairs to find the hole and checked back on the CCTV to see what happened.

“He broke into our family home and it’s not something we would wish on anybody.”

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James, who runs the pub with his wife, Lisa, says that the couple are very grateful to all their customers who supported them through 2020, and who have continued to show their support.

As the LBO went to press, the fundraising total was £475. To donate, visit The Golden Bell’s Facebook page.

A Beds Police spokesman said: “Two charity boxes were taken from the premises. CCTV has been obtained and an investigation has been launched. Anyone with information is asked to contact us via www.bedfordshire.police.uk/report or by calling 101 quoting reference 40/4978/21.”