Charity cash nicked in pub raid
OLD soldiers last night blasted thieves who stole hundreds of pounds of charity cash in a daring raid on a Paisley pub.
Crooks are believed to have escaped with a four-figure sum of cash including a large amount of money which had been collected for ex-servicemen and women during the robbery at The Croft Bar.
The thieves used a crowbar to force up the floorboards in an empty flat above the premises and then kicked a hole in the ceiling of the pub so they could gain access.
In the minutes that followed, the robbers smashed open a fruit machine and took the money that was inside, grabbed a bag of coins and rifled through the till, stealing a further £400.
They also swiped a pile of cash that was to be donated to the Erskine charity which cares for former soldiers.
Last night, an Erskine spokesman said: We are shocked and saddened to learn of the break-in at The Croft Bar.
As a charity, we rely heavily on voluntary donations to ensure the men and women who have served our country get the highest standard of care.
The staff and customers of The Croft Bar had put a lot of time and effort into raising this money and I would like to thank them for this on behalf of our veterans.
We can only hope that guilt leads to the return of the money.
And one former soldier, who asked not to be named, added: Erskine does a great job in looking after veterans and the charity needs every penny it can get its hands on.
Whoever took this money should hang their heads in shame. If they had an ounce of decency, they would make sure the money is handed back so it can be given to the charity as intended.
The break-in at The Croft Bar, which is a popular haunt with Rangers fans, is thought to have happened at around 3.30am on Monday morning.
A member of staff arriving for work at the pub, in North Croft Street, later that day made the shock discovery.
As well as stealing a large sum of cash, the thieves also ripped a TV off the wall and grabbed bottles of spirits before fleeing the scene via a rear door.
Bosses at The Croft Bar are offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the crooks responsible for the break-in.
One upset regular at the bar told the Paisley Daily Express: Ive heard that the thieves got in from the flat above by ripping up the floorboards and kicking a hole in the pub ceiling.
They just took what they wanted and left quite a mess in their wake.
Quite a few bottles of spirits were pinched, as well as a lot of cash from the till, but what makes me really angry is that hundreds of pounds which had been collected for the war veterans at Erskine was taken.
That money had been collected through the sale of calendars and badges. People at the pub have been doing this for Erskine for years and its all thanks to the Rangers Supporters Erskine Appeal.
Old soldiers will lose out now because of these crooks.
Yesterday, The Croft Bar was open again and management insisted it was business as usual.
A spokesman at the pub said: A reward is offered for the arrest and conviction of the thieves. Anyone with information should tell the police.
Last night, detectives at Paisley CID said their investigation into the break-in is continuing.
One officer added: Anyone who has informatiion that might help with this inquiry should ring Paisley Police Office on 0141 532 5900 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.