THIEVES have been condemned after stealing cash from a group of Royal Marines who went to rescue a gravely-ill fisherman.
Four marines jumped in the sea when they saw fisherman Chris Jackson had been taken ill on his boat in the stretch of water between The Hard and HMS Warrior Portsmouth.
They desperately tried to keep the 63-year-old alive by performing CPR, before pushing the boat back to shore so the waiting paramedics could take him to hospital.
Mr Jackson, from Gosport, died later that night from a heart attack.
In a sickening crime that has shocked everyone involved, one of the marines, 21-year-old Harry Twells, pictured, discovered £30 had been stolen from his wallet which he had left quayside while he was helping Mr Jackson.
Mr Jackson’s son Ben Jackson, 39, from Cosham, said: ‘Losing dad is absolutely devastating. It’s just awful. But we can’t believe how low someone can stoop by stealing from a good samaritan who was trying to help him.
‘I would appeal to anyone who knows who is responsible to tell the police what they know.’
Peter Clements, of Agincourt Road, North End, a friend of the Mr Jackson, said: ‘We were all absolutely disgusted.
‘We could not believe that a scumbag could do something like that.
‘They are the lowest of the low. They took that money knowing that someone had risked their lives trying to save someone.’
Mne Twells, who lives in The Wirral, Merseyside, said: ‘We were only down for a week for work. We had just got off the Gosport Ferry for a night out when we heard a man shouting for help from a boat in the harbour.
‘We ran down the slipway and swam across to the boat to the man’s dad who was having a heart attack. We checked him over and did CPR and tried to row back. We ended up pushing the boat back to the shore.
‘Once we were there I realised my jumper was missing. Someone had taken it and left it half way down the road. My phone and wallet was still there but £30 was missing. I felt angry because we were trying to help someone.
‘People on the quayside said they saw someone hanging around but by the time we’d realised they were gone.
‘We were really sad to find out the gentleman had died.’
Fishermen who gather at the seafood stall overlooking the harbour had been trying to trace the marines and two passing paramedics who also administered first aid while they were waiting for paramedics. They are going to put together a collection to replace the money that was stolen.
The fishermen have also put a collection together for Mr Jackson’s family.
The incident happened between 7.30pm and 8pm on May 30.
Anyone with information should contact the Safer Neighbourhoods Team at Portsmouth Central Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.