A MAN has been sentenced to 12 weeks in prison for stealing a charity box raising funds for cancer battler Bradley Lowery.

Stephen Whitworth, 35, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared before Newton Aycliffe magistrates on Monday afternoon.

The tin, the contents of which was to go to the Bradley Lowery fund, was taken from the counter of The Lunch Box in Yoden Road, Peterlee on Sunday morning.

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Andrew Teate, mitigating said the defendant had no knowledge of the young boy's plight.

The Northern Echo:

The cash seized by police

Five-year-old Bradley’s brave battle with terminal cancer has touched the nation.

Later this month, the Blackhall youngster is due to lead out the England football team at Wembley alongside his hero Jermain Defoe when he is mascot at the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

In interviews at the weekend, the England striker revealed he has placed a picture of the youngster on his locker at the Stadium of Light.

The news of the theft came as Bradley prepared for yet another round of hospital appointments in his ongoing fight.

His family posted an update on Facebook saying the little battler had been unwell on Friday but had enjoyed a night at his grandparents’ caravan ahead of another week of medical tests.

They said: “The week ahead he will be up the hospital to get his bloods checked and unfortunately I think he is going to need his feeding tube put back in because he is not eating enough and is losing weight.

“Bradley will not like this as it is traumatic getting it in, however he needs to be nutritionally well to keep his energy levels up to fight the nasties”.