THIEVES stole an honesty box which was raising money for a children’s playground.

The box was in Mill Lane, Wigginton, outside the home of Richard Dinton, who has offered fruit from his garden in return for donations to charity for the last five years. When he went to check on it yesterday, at about 4.30pm, he discovered it had been taken.

Last year, he raised about £400 for Macmillan Cancer Research, and this year he has taken between £5 and £17 each day to support the Play For All campaign to make local playgrounds accessible to disabled children.

He said: “We have never had a single instance in all the time we’ve raised money of anyone doing that sort of thing, I just think it’s sick.

“If they had knocked on the door and asked for a couple of pounds, I might have given them something.

“The box says on it that it’s an honesty box, and that’s what we expect people to be and they generally are. In practice I’ve found 99.9 per cent of people are honest and very generous. I would ask whoever took it to examine their conscience.

“If they want to leave it where it came from, that’s fine, but I don’t expect they will. If they are made to feel remorseful about it, then they should.”

Mr Dinton said he had not yet reported the theft to North Yorkshire Police but would be doing so as The Press went to print.