A BRAVE shopkeeper fought off two robbers trying to steal a poppy appeal collection box.

Two men in motorcycle helmets burst into Sarna Food and Wine, in Gilbert Road, Harefield, last Thursday and tried to steal the donation box containing cash to help Britain's war heroes.

But store owner Ricky Sarna, 32, saw them coming and grabbed hold of the collection box, refusing to let it go. The pair fled on a moped.

Mr Sarna, whose business is near the village's ANZAC cemetery, final resting place to Australian First World War veterans, said: "I do not like to see anything stolen from my shop.

"I snatched it back, I was not going to let it happen.

"They were ready to grab it and escape on the bike. I am glad I stopped them."

Brenda Whitby, Poppy Appeal organiser for Harefield, hailed Mr Sarna's actions and lambasted those who tried to steal charity money from such a worthy cause.

Mrs Whitby, of Truesdale Drive, Harefield, said: "I think it is disgusting that people could try to steal a plastic poppy box.

"I think they were taken aback that the shopkeeper defended his shop and stopped them and said: 'Don't take that'.

"I was really saddened to hear that two people could stoop that low."

Mrs Whitby reported the attempted crime to the police, who are investigating.

However, she has plenty of good news to report about the donations of the community of Harefield to the poppy appeal as a whole.

"This year there have been lots of donations. I have been out collecting for the last two to three weeks.

"In one afternoon I think I collected £200. People are feeling more patriotic.

"We had the march in Uxbridge, which was very well attended. There is a surge in national pride at the moment." 

List of Remembrance Day services here