A SHOP keeper and an anonymous benefactor have replaced the cash stolen from a poppy collection tin.

Peter Woods, owner of Costcutter in Main Road, Hockley, donated £100 - and a mystery man left £50.

The theft of the tin, particularly as it happened on Remembrance Sunday, caused widespread outrage.

The two thieves, who have still not been found, targeted three different shops within an hour and 15 minutes.

Mr Woods’ Costcutter was the first to be hit at 1.20pm. The pair then targeted two more stores in Rochford. Each time they used the same technique - the man distracted the staff while the woman grabbed the tin.

Mr Woods has now told how after reading the story in Tuesday’s Echo, a man came into the shop and left £50.

He said: “A guy just walked in out of the blue and didn’t leave his name or anything. He just put the cash in my hand and walked out the shop.

“I then gave £100 to make it up to what we thought was in the box. It was really nice what the man did, shows there are some really decent people about after all.”

Mr Woods is now appealing for the man to get back in touch, not for publicity, but to take advantage of a charity fundraiser the shop has been involved in.

He added: “This man said he was involved with Mencap and we happen to have a charity fund we run which has about £2,500 to donate to a good cause.

“I know he didn’t want to be known but there may be someone or something he is dealing with that we can help him out with.”

Len James, 70, who went to collect the money on behalf of the Royal British Legion, added:

“Many thanks to these two men. What a decent thing to do.

“What I am planning to do next year is take two tins into the shop so if one gets full then Mr Woods can take that away and put the other one out.”

Anyone with information on the thieving couple should call 101.