A blind war veteran who was fleeced out of hundreds of pounds by a bogus good Samaritan has thanked Leeds residents for clubbing together to help him.
Visitors to Cafe Me ’n’ U, in Cardinal Road, Beeston, have already donated more than £200 to help 90-year-old Harold Swift.
The community effort has also seen his local Asda in Beeston pull together a goodwill hamper of his favourite products and a donation from staff, which police are to deliver to Harold.
Harold, who walks with a stick, had £600 – saved to buy Christmas presents and pay bills – stolen by a woman who offered to help him as he left Old Lane post office in Beeston on November 14 between 4pm and 5pm.
He told the YEP: “It has restored my faith in human nature, it really has. I’m amazed. It’s hardly believable that so many people can come together for something like this.”
Harold, who says the theft has knocked his confidence, had his sight irreparably damaged while serving with the Desert Rats in the Second World War.
Yvonne Crowther, who runs Cafe Me ’n’ U and lives locally, put up posters in the cafe and organised a collection tin after hearing of the story on Monday.
She said: “We have had a fabulous response from people of all ages, everybody is horrified about it – it’s really struck a chord.”
Everyone from children to pensioners have been emptying their pockets to the growing collection, which aims to match the amount that was stolen.
The female thief was described as white, aged 40 to 45, about 5ft 1in tall, with short dark hair. She was softly spoken with a square jaw and a mannish face.
Earlier this week a 40-year-old woman arrested in connection with the incident was released on police bail.
PC Patrick McDonald, from Holbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “He has been through a terrible ordeal, but with the care and support of the community, we hope he will gradually recover.”
Anyone with information on the theft should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
To contribute to Cafe Me ’n’ U’s collection email: firstname.lastname@example.org