A drunk woman was captured on CCTV stealing a charity box from a mobility aid shop.
She was with a young boy when she stole the British Heart Foundation collection box from Eden Mobility, on Westgate.
Staff said that she came into the shop at around 4.45pm last Wednesday asking about mobility aids for her father.
John Heaton, senior manager at Eden Mobility, said: “She was asking about a scooter and got a member of staff to go and get a product from the back of the shop.
“When they came back she claimed she had to go and get some cash because credit card was damaged. But she never returned.”
Later, when staff discovered the British Heart Foundation box had been stolen they checked their camera footage.
It showed the woman taking the box from the counter and putting it in her handbag.
Mr Heaton said: “In my opinion stealing money that has been collected for charity is worse than stealing stock from the shop. It’s a very callous thing to do.
“I don’t think this was an impulse decision. The woman smelt strongly of alcohol and the fact that she had a child with her makes it worse.”
A spokeswoman for the British Heart Foundation condemned the theft as “very sad”.
The footage has been passed to police who have appealed for help in tracking down the suspect.
Insp Richard Close, of the Central neighbourhood police team (NPT), said: “This offence shows either extreme desperation or someone with no conscience.
“Thefts always end up having a victim, in this case there are numerous victims who would have benefited from other people’s generosity.
“If you can identify the woman in the picture please contact the police.”
The suspect was described as a white woman, aged in her late 20s, with long, dark hair.
She was wearing a grey top and beige Ugg-style boots.
Anyone with information should contact Central NPT on 101. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.