A THIEF who stole a charity box, containing funds to help a plucky six-year-old to get back on his feet, has been branded ‘disgusting’.

Miles Whitfield, 36, was filmed sneaking into De Santi’s mini-mart in Gisburn Road, Barnoldswick, and stealing a collecting tin for the Robin’s Dream charity.

Football-mad Robin Carter, from Earby, who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy, had two operations, costing £45,000, last May, to lengthen his hamstring and heel cords.

But the Roughlee Primary pupil is still undergoing physiotherapy to achieve his ultimate ambition - a kickabout with his mates - and his appeal fund is still active.

Whitfield, of Browning Close, Colne, was identified by police on CCTV footage handed over by the shop’s owners.

And when he appeared before Burnley magistrates he admitted the August 10 theft - and was given a 12-month supervision order, with 40 hours community service.

Magistrates were told that the charity box theft had occurred when he was already the subject of conditional discharges, for three shoplifting offences carried out in Skipton and East Lancashire.

Whitfield was also ordered by the court to pay £160 in compensation to Robin’s mum, Natalie.

Natalie, of Springfield Avenue, said: “I was told that he was in the area doing some roofing and he was seen on CCTV going in there.

“It would seem like it was a breach of trust - and to take a charity box is just disgusting.”

She has also praised the work of West Craven police in apprehending Whitfield so swiftly.

“I was quite impressed when I got the letter through saying that the compensation was going to be paid, once the bank details had been sorted out,” Natalie added.

The theft has not deterred determined Robin though, who was born eight weeks premature and developed spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, aged two.

He has amazed doctors with his progress since returning home from having surgery in Missouri and is now able to work out on his own specially-adapted gym, built especially for him by Nelson-based Barnfield Construction.

Natalie added: “He is doing brilliantly - he goes on his gym at the bottom of the garden and is still going for hydrotherapy. He is making great progress.”

Coun Jennifer Purcell, who represents Barnoldswick’s Craven ward and has supported Robin’s appeal, said: “These kind of people are nothing but low-lifes.”