A THIEF who stole a charity bottle collection has avoided jail.

Denville Walker, 35, of High Street, Queensbury, Bradford, admitted taking a large bottle containing loose change for the Huddersfield children’s hospice appeal.

The money had been given by regulars at Elland Working Men’s Club to the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not charity.

Walker had originally denied the offence and was due to face trial on August 15, but he changed his plea when he appeared before Calderdale magistrates this week.

The night of the offence, February 25, was the first Walker had out since the end of a 16-week curfew order. He was already subject to two community orders at the time.

The man was given a four month sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Peter Branson, chief executive of the children’s hospice, said: “While we were not made aware of this case, it is obviously desperately sad that while the community is working so hard to support children and families who need us there are still people who do something as shocking as this.

“We are immensely grateful for all the support we get, and we will continue to do everything we can to raise the £2.5m a year we will need to run the hospice once it opens later this year and carry on our Hospice at Home service.”

Another man will face trial on August 15 at Calderdale Magistrates’ in connection with the theft.