A CALLOUS thief has been ordered to pay back charity money he swiped from generous pubgoers.
Ricki Herbert, 20, of Chiltern Drive, took a collection tin containing £300 from The Havelock in Havelock Road, which was meant to go to a children’s hospice.
But he appeared at Hove Crown Court on Friday and a judge ordered him to pay back the money raised by regulars and staff.
Herbert took the money after burgling the pub on August 5 last year.
Staff and regulars at The Havelock were left devastated after the tin was swiped but they refused to let this faze them, so they rallied round to re-raise the lost money, hosting events and collecting change.
They were able to raise £1,000 in total for the Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and handed the money over to the charity in October.
Landlord Stephen Goodfellow, who runs the pub with his wife Julie, said this week that he was pleased by the court’s decision.
He said: “We were absolutely gutted for everyone who had helped raise the money, what with the hard economic times we are going through.
“People had done so much to collect the cash.
“I feel he (Herbert) stole from everyone around him.
“It was pretty devastating for us and heart-breaking.”
The town centre pub has made a donation to the children’s hospice every year for the past eight years.
The charity, based in Arundel, West Sussex, looks after youngsters suffering from terminal illnesses, and offers support to their families.
It gets no funding from the Government and costs £2 million a year to run.
Herbert also has to pay a further £1,000 in compensation to The Havelock after burgling the pub on August 9, four days after stealing the charity box.
He originally appeared at Lewes Crown Court on December 10 and entered guilty pleas to two charges of burglary.
Herbert was sentenced for both counts at Friday’s hearing and also given a 12-month community order, as well as a two-month curfew order