A VETERAN travelling round the coast of Britain on a mobility scooter has spoken of his shock after thieves stole his charity collection.
Mark Newton, 48, has left Portsmouth after his ordeal outside Tesco in Crasswell Street.
It is the first time the veteran had been targeted by thieves since starting his challenge on April 7 last year.
It is not known how much cash was stolen from his collection bucket, but police have been alerted.
Mr Newton said: ‘I am not sure how much was taken but all the notes have gone.
‘It makes me so sad that people would steal from someone collecting for charity.
‘Everyone on the route has been so friendly and gone out of their way to help me.
‘I’ve been staying in Tesco stores along the route and the staff have been great but this has shocked me.’
Mr Newton, from Swansea, started his challenge in Wales last year, travelling along the coast.
He has since travelled more than 7,300 miles and has up to 4,000 more to go.
He is funding his trips with the little money he has left from his war pension and the help of people and businesses en route.
Mr Newton is collecting money for military charity SSAFA, the RNLI, Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and his regiment, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, during his challenge.
His specially adapted scooter tows a small caravan he uses to sleep and to house his two cats, Smudge, 10, and Missy, two, who are keeping him company.
Speaking of the theft, which happened at about 7.30pm on Monday, Mr Newton added: ‘I had two young lads on bikes hanging around.
‘One of them was asking a lot of questions about what was in the bucket.
‘All the notes I had seen going in are gone.
‘It’s the first time it’s happened and I’ve been through some real dodgy spots. I’m still carrying on.
‘I’ve left because of what’s happened.
‘I’ve got to be honest, when I came down to Portsmouth I was moved by all the D-Day stuff and the memorials. I will be back. I need to find somewhere more secure to stay.’
For more information about Mr Newton’s challenge or to make a donation visit aroundbritain.org.uk
Witnesses should contact Hampshire police on 101.