A gang of thieves sent a young boy into a shop to break into a safe.
The youngster, believed to be no more than 10-years-old, stole hundreds of pounds after slipping into the store room of the Premier shop, on Marton’s Vicarage Lane.
He was captured on the corner shop’s CCTV talking to an older man minutes before he disappears from view, steals the keys and opens the safe – stashed full of the store’s takings.
In total the boy helped himself to £1,500, including around £60 which was destined for charity.
Now, police are hunting for the four adults believed to behind the little boy’s actions and have described their role in the raid as “appalling”.
Shopkeeper Anthony Fletcher said although he was “upset” by the theft of so much cash from his store, he was not surprised by the criminal’s tender years.
Mr Fletcher, who owns the store and runs it with his sons Daniel and Matthew, said: “I’m surprised the shop got robbed.
“But I was not surprised when I saw the camera, it was someone very young, he is no more than 10.
“Unfortunately, people do use children because they know if the child is caught all they will get is a telling off.
“There was an older guy who was obviously orchestrating the whole thing, but he did not touch the money or do anything illegal.
“I’m upset by it, of course I am, but unfortunately it’s one of those things.”
The police are looking to speak to two men and two women, who entered the shop with the boy, in connection with the incident.
The young thief escaped with a couple of bags containing cash from the shop’s tills, as well as money destined for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, but Mr Fletcher said the thief’s naivety showed during the theft.
He added: “He picked up the heavy bags because he thought they had the most money in, but they had the least money in because it was change. If he had taken one of the other bags he would have got away with a lot more.
“We did have some charity money and sadly they took that as well, but we topped that back up.”
The incident happened between 1.48pm and 1.58pm on Sunday, November 11, and police have now released CCTV images of the people they want to trace in connection with the incident.
PC Gail Walters, of Blackpool Police, told The Gazette: “It appears the four adults have instructed the youngster to go and steal the cash and if that is the case then it really is appalling.
“I would appeal to anyone who recognises any of the people in these CCTV images to come forward and contact the police. The people responsible need to be caught and brought to justice and I would appeal for the public’s help with this.”
Anyone with information can contact Blackpool Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.