A MAN who stole a British Heart Foundation charity box from a Cumbrian railway station has been jailed for 70 days.

Peter Ainsley, 43, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court after he pleaded guilty to the theft of the charity money and a separate theft of a suitcase at Preston station.

The court heard that Ainsley had been at Penrith station on Thursday, September 27, where the British Heart Foundation had one of its collection boxes in the booking office.

Magistrates heard that at around 4pm a member of staff at the shop noticed the box was missing from its usual shelf and checked CCTV footage from the day which showed Ainsley taking the charitable collection.

The member of staff immediately alerted British Transport Police.

The following day the box, which had contained around £27, was found, empty, at Oxenholme station near Kendal.

BTP officers issued an appeal via the media and shortly afterwards Ainsley was arrested and subsequently charged.

PC Darren Rogers said: “Clearly this was not a high-value theft, but Ainsley targeted a charity as a means to make money, which is deplorable.

“Thankfully our appeal was a success and we were able to put Ainsley before the court and hold him to account for his criminality.”