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Collection for late landlord stolen - Wigan
Tuesday 5th September, 2006

Thieves broke into a pub in Wigan last weekend and stole a jar of collection money intended for the hospice in which the late landlord had recently been treated for his terminal cancer.

The jar contained around 200 from customers and was stolen from the Miner's Arms on Kitt Lane in Wigan less than 24 hours after Mr Joseph Price's funeral.

Both police and Joe's widow Julie Price are appealing for witnesses to this incident, which happened just before 6.30am on Saturday 2 September 2006.

The offenders broke into the pub by forcing the back door open with a crowbar. They smashed a fruit machine and stole its contents, ripped the pub's alarm box from the wall and went upstairs to investigate further before being disturbed by a friend of the Price's who was staying at the pub for the night.

Before they left they also scratched Mrs Price's car, leaving a hacksaw on the bonnet.

Julie Price said: "I am still a bit shell-shocked and can't believe this has happened. I had enough upset burying Joe on Friday without all this. I know if he'd have been here it wouldn't have taken him two minutes to catch them.

"We were going to decide whether the money should be shared between Wigan Hospice and Christie's, or whether one or the other should get it. I just can't believe how anybody could do this. The jar had a piece of paper round the glass with Joe's name on it too.

"Joe was a well-known rugby player and the amount of people who were at his funeral was amazing, the kind of person who would want to ruin a day like that must be sick."

Area Inspector Bob Pell said: "This was a traumatic time for the family already without something like this happening.

"Joe had been the landlord there for 13 years and was well respected and well liked by members of the community, a fact that was reflected in that collection. Not only have they stolen from a grieving family but they have also taken money intended for a charity for other people suffering with cancer.

"We are totally disgusted at this incident and appeal to the conscience of those involved or anyone who may know anything to come forward and give us information about who may have been responsible for this burglary."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police in Wigan on 0161 856 7181 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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