BURGLARS used a remembrance stone to smash their way into a veterans’ charity centre and stole around £1,000 in cash.

The alarm triggered at Veterans in Communities Centre, in Bury Road, Haslingden, at 5.40am on Friday November 17 and a member of staff was on site six minutes later, but the burglars had already fled.

CCTV recorded them climbing over the wall from the car park into the back yard and spending around 30 minutes trying unsuccessfully to break into a workshop.

They then picked up a memorial stone inscribed with ‘Lest We Forget’ and smashed a frosted glass panel next to the rear door triggering the alarm.

Once inside, the pair kicked their way into the office and stole money from locked cash boxes in locked filing cabinets.

Charity tins containing money raised from selling craft items made by veterans along with donation boxes were also taken; fortunately Poppy Appeal money had already been handed over to The Royal British Legion.

Chief Executive Liz Hamilton said: “They stole all the cash they could find. A lot had been paid as deposits by veterans for our Christmas meal next month and this is money that many members will not be able to afford to pay again.

“There was utter disbelief in the centre and everyone is shocked and disgusted at what has happened.

“The CCTV shows a man accompanied by what is believed to be a woman and both are of average height and of slight build. The CCTV pictures have been taken by the police.

“If anyone has any information about the burglary or if they come across the empty cash boxes, please can they contact the police.”

A police spokesman said: "We have been made aware of a burglary at Veterans in Communities Centre.

"An investigation has been launched to identify those responsible.

"Anyone with information should call police on 101."