A MAN who stole a Poppy Appeal donation box in Chester city centre just days before Armistice Day has been jailed.

William McArd, 46, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the theft of a charity collection box belonging to the Royal British Legion at Chester Magistrates Court on November 14.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison. This was on top of an eight-week suspended sentence imposed in July from a prior offence that has now been triggered, resulting in a total of 26 weeks custody. He was also ordered to pay compensation totalling £154.

He stole the Poppy Appeal box from McDonald's in Foregate Street on November 5.

McDonald's staff alerted police that he was back in the store on November 12, and he was duly arrested and charged with the offence.

Chester Magistrates Court heard the offender was well known to probation, and was a 'prolific thief'.

DS Helen Newman said: “I am pleased that McArd has been immediately sent to prison as a result of this offence. It is despicable to steal from any charity, but to steal a Poppy Appeal Box six days before Armistice Day shows a truly shocking disrespect for all those brave people who have served their country so selflessly.”