HEARTLESS burglars who stole a Poppy Appeal collection tin from a military museum just days before Remembrance Sunday have been condemned.

Thieves broke into the Durham Light Infantry Museum, in Durham City, last night (November 8) and stole the tin containing an unknown amount of cash.

The museum is dedicated to those who served with the regiment over the years, including the 13,000 DLI men who lost their lives during the First World War.

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Sgt Bridget Orton, of Durham Police, said: "This was a particularly heartless crime, especially on the eve of Remembrance Sunday.

"It just goes to show that criminals have no regard for common decency and will even steal money raised for a charity or good cause."

Museum manager Gillian Robinson added: "We are obviously very saddened by the break-in and what is a very thoughtless crime.

"Although we don’t know how much money was in the collection box, people always give very generously to the Poppy Appeal.

"It is extremely disappointing that these donations will not now reach the veterans who have given so much for others."

The break-in happened at around 11.15pm when police responded to an alarm going off at the museum in Aykley Heads.

Officers attended the scene and found the café window had been smashed and someone had entered the building, before escaping with the collection tin from the cafe area.

Police say nothing else appeared to have been stolen.

A crime scene investigator visited the museum this morning and officers plan to work with museum staff to see if there is any useful evidence on the building’s CCTV system.

Anyone with information is asked to ring police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.