Ray McLaughlin, who owns Lostock Ale, says he captured a man on CCTV smashing the pub’s new front window with a brick around 4-15am last Saturday. The thief then entered the property and took around £200 from a huge whiskey jar containing donations to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Ray said: “It angered a lot of people. I was upset by it, [as] it’s a difficult time for lots of charities and individuals.
“The jar was full of cancer donations right up to the neck. There was even a second jar for money that wouldn’t fit into the first one.”
The landlord added: “[The thief] was seen on camera at the back of the pub rooting through the skip, then he retrieved a brick, came round to the front and smashed the window, which had only just been put in on Christmas Eve.
“He didn’t make any attempt to hide his identity. It was only moments before he threw the brick that he put his hood up.
“This was a premeditated burglary. Nothing else was touched. That’s all he went for - not wines, spirits or the tools I had lying around. He went straight to it. He knew where to go and there was no hesitation.
“Fortunately, he didn’t get as much as he’d have liked. He missed about £95 in coins. He had tried to lift the bottle of coins but hadn’t realised how heavy it was. He staggered backwards and dropped it, panicked, and in the dark grabbed all the paper money.”
Ray put out a Facebook post on his Lostock Ale page the next day appealing for the culprit to return the money before 6pm.
“If someone did it on the spur of the moment, they have to reflect and put it in an envelope and walk away [from the crime]. He had 12 hours. He didn’t return the money but I didn’t think he would,” the businessman said.
But with customers continuing to make donations since he opened on Monday, Ray says he is focusing on the positives, adding: “We can’t let that marr the future of the pub. You have to show resilience by dusting yourself down, moving on, looking to better things and carrying on being a community pub.”
Police say the incident has been reported and is under investigation.