Poppy Appeal thief jailed as court is told he also burgled home of 84-year-old disabled man last year

A man caught on camera brazenly putting a Poppy Appeal tin down his trousers at a Cleveleys pub has been jailed.

Nathan Beddow, of Beach Road, Cleveleys, became the subject of both national outrage and a police manhunt after he walked off with cash meant for the Royal British Legion earlier this month.

Beddow was caught on camera stealing a Poppy Appeal tin earlier this month

Beddow was caught on camera stealing a Poppy Appeal tin earlier this month

He was arrested and charged with theft, which he admitted when he appeared before magistrates in Blackpool today.

The 20-year-old was sentenced to 12 weeks behind bars, to run alongside nine months he must serve for burgling the home of an 84-year-old disabled man in Hartlepool last year.

Beddow had been released part-way through his previous jail term and was on licence when he targeted the charity collection tin at The Dickens pub on Friday, November 3.

Prosecutor Pam Smith told the court: "He went into the pub just before 1pm and was seen loitering around the bar before he clearly stuffs the tin down the front of his pants.”

Beddow wrote a letter saying sorry for his actions, but addressed it to the British Red Cross instead of the Royal British Legion

Beddow wrote a letter saying sorry for his actions, but addressed it to the British Red Cross instead of the Royal British Legion

A Royal British Legion volunteer found the empty tin in a nearby alleyway, she added.

Footage of Beddow stealing the tin, which the court was told contained around £70, went viral on Facebook ahead of Remembrance Day.

He was also seen returning to the scene of the crime later with a pal, where he bought a drink.

Lancashire Police appealed for the public's help in finding Beddow after he was identified by a social media user.

When officers finally caught up with him, the court heard Beddow told an officer: "All this for some Poppy money. All you have got is some CCTV."

Ms Smith added: "When he was arrested, he was under the influence of some substance and was trying to goad the police officers.

"He was put in a police van and, on the way to the station, tried to put a cord round his neck after he slipped his handcuffs, but was halted by officers."

Beddow later wrote a letter apologising for his actions, the court was told, but addressed it to the British Red Cross instead of the Royal British Legion.

Defending, Steven Townley said Beddow had received threats from the English Defence League and was scared.

He said: "He has moved to this area because that is where his two-year-old son lives.

"He has returned to taking Valium and cannabis and had taken 15 Valium before committing this offence.

"He has no recollection of doing it but accepts that it is him on CCTV."

When bench chairman Janet Lee asked Beddow if he knew what the Poppy Appeal means, Beddow answered: "Yes. It's for Army people. My aunt is in the Army."

She told him: "This is a despicable offence. The Valium is no excuse.

"It's a terrible thing you have done, and you accept the public perception of what you did."

Beddow was ordered to repay the Royal British Legion £70, and court costs of £185.

Pub landlord Brian Jenkinson said: "This was the meanest of thefts, and he deserves to be publicly shamed."