BRAZEN thieves swiped cash raised in memory of a tragic toddler from a shop managed by her granddad.
Alan Gaunt has been left distraught by the theft of a charity box from the Leeds fish-and-chip takeaway he runs.
His granddaughter Aimee Frankland died from a rare form of epilepsy last December. The collection was part of her family’s fundraising for a national research charity.
Mr Gaunt, who said Aimee was his “inspiration”, added: “I’m so upset. They don’t know the circumstances behind it, it’s just money to them.
“But it’s a hard enough time as it is. We don’t need things like this.”
Aimee had Dravet syndrome and suffered multiple seizures and various health problems before a major seizure last December left her in intensive care in Leeds General Infirmary.
She died four days later following a further attack.
Since then, her family have been collecting for Dravet Syndrome UK in the hope research will bring more treatments.
They have arranged a fundraising event on May 10 and had a collection box for the charity at St Michael’s Fisheries, on St Michael’s Lane in Headingley.
Mr Gaunt, 65, said customers had been very supportive following Aimee’s death and generous with their donations. But at around 1.40pm on Wednesday, another staff member told him the box had disappeared.
Two men in their 40s and about 6ft tall – one wearing a black coat and one in a mustard-coloured hat – had been seen acting suspicioulsy in the shop shortly before the theft.
Mr Gaunt, a grandfather of seven, added: “I am upset and angry as well.
“Aimee was my inspiration and my heartbeat.”
Anyone with information should contact the inner northwest neighbourhood policing team on 101.