POPPY Appeal tins were stolen on Remembrance Sunday in a “disgusting and shocking” theft at shops in Wilton and Ludgershall. 

CCTV footage shows a woman snatching the charity collection jar and hiding it under her clothes, while another woman districts staff at the Ludgershall Spar store, in Andover Road, at about 1pm.

It is believed the box contained approximately £150.

The footage was posted on Facebook by members of staff and instantly went viral with more than a thousand people sharing video of the crime.

Spar manager Susan Connolly said: “It's absolutely shocking that someone could do this.

“It's just completely disgusting to steal the Poppy Appeal tin on Remembrance Sunday.

“One distracted the girl behind the counter while the other just swept it under her dress. 'After I posted the video, it went mad, its had over 100,000 views." 

The One Stop store in Wilton was also targeted on Sunday, in which two women entered the shop and while one them distracted staff, the second stole the Poppy Appeal tin from the counter.

A spokesman for Wiltshire police said: "In both incidents, the suspects are described as female and wearing headscarves." 

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion, Tristan Nichols, added: “We are greatly disturbed to hear of the theft of poppy collecting tins.

“This loss will deprive those in the Service and ex-Service community and their families of much needed assistance and support from the Legion.”

A third theft took place at the McColls convenience store in Andover. CCTV shows a woman waiting until a member of staff is distracted before grabbing the tin and leaving the shop.

Commenting on the Andover incident Inspector Paul Markham, of Hampshire Police, said: “This is a disgraceful incident where, on Remembrance Sunday, a Poppy Appeal collection box has been stolen.

“This is extremely disrespectful to those who have given so much for our country. I would urge anyone with information to contact us as soon as possible to help us identify those responsible.”

Anyone with information about the Ludgershall and Wilton thefts is urged to call Wiltshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.