POPPY appeal boxes have been stolen from pubs and bars across the Cotswolds.

Members of the Royal British Legion have condemned the thefts.

One collection box was stolen from The Ox House Wine Bar in Northleach’s market square at midday yesterday. It is believed the incident may be linked to similar thefts in Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water.

Emma Nevins, bar supervisor at The Ox House, said the thief was brazen. “He stole it from under my nose,” she said. “I was so shocked, because we’re such a safe town, you don’t expect anyone to steal anything.”

She added the collection box contained at least £100. “Several people had commented on how heavy it was getting. There were quite a few notes in there too, I would say we had lost a considerable sum of money.”

“My boss is an ex soldier and he has been devastated by the theft,” she added.

Vice president of Northleach Royal British Legion Tommy Atkins said he was disgusted by the theft. “I can’t believe anyone would do this,” he said. “I used to be a soldier and I hope they suffer for what they have done.”