Pocket money donated by two young boys to Lancashire Cat Rescue was also in the collection tin snatched from the Lazy Cat Café.
But café manager Dave Robb, shocked at the theft on Saturday 12, has now had his faith restored in the great British public after dozens came forward to donate to the charity, replacing the stolen cash.
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He said: “The three ladies walked in and asked a few questions. They told me they were just waiting for their husbands.
“We tend to be very busy and we were out of the café for about a minute and a half during which time one of them pinched the charity box.
“It took us about 15 minutes before we realised the box was gone. We checked CCTV and there it was, plain as day.
“I can’t believe someone would steal a charity box. It’s a real low. The bare faced cheek of it all. We have now got the new charity box chained to the counter top.
“In the CCTV footage you can see they actually shake the charity boxes to see which one is the heaviest. It’s sad because it was everything from over the festive period. It had been about ready for collection.
“Two young boys had donated their pocket money which I think was quite a sacrifice actually but that was shortly before it was stolen.
“We posted the CCTV image initially as a warning to other businesses in the area.
“We had a few people saying ‘can I make a donation’ so we started the fundraiser and we’ve raised Â£105 already. It’s filled me with faith in the general public again. It was really quite heart-warming, a complete turn around. The public has been so generous, it’s buoyed my confidence again.
“Police have the CCTV footage and are looking into it. I’m quite hopeful that there will be a lead and they will be brought to justice.”