Central Market inspector Simone Glendewar says she is utterly disappointed by recent events and thinks that the actions could not have been due to ignorance.
She has expressed particular sadness over the loss of around 20 handmade knitted and crocheted poppies, which had been fixed to wreaths around the market’s fountain and were made for the Royal British Legion by Island craft groups last year.
‘People have just pulled them off the wreath and walked off – I do not know why they did it. There are signs which clearly say “do not touch” in both English and French. It is just absolutely despicable,’ she said.
‘They were all very well secured to the fountain, so the culprit definitely intended to do it.
‘We also had lanterns, which were full of poppies, that someone has tried to get into over the weekend and has ended up knocking them over and smashing them.
‘The poppies were handmade by members of the community last year and we raised over £1,700 for the Royal British Legion. We mounted some on wreaths and gave others away to be sold off to raise money.’
Ms Glendewar added that the Market had also recently experienced the theft of a Jersey Blind Society donation tin and that during the summer, people would sometimes steal coins that had been dropped into the fountain for charity.
‘This is part of a bigger picture,’ she said.
‘The police came and saw us but said that if we did not have footage of someone taking the tin, then there was nothing they could do.’
Following the latest suspected thefts, Ms Glendewar said that the Central Market was reviewing CCTV footage to try to find the culprit.
‘From a personal perspective, and not from that of the Market, it is just extremely sad. I cannot believe that someone would do such a thing,’ she said.
‘This is for charity – it is there to give money not take it away. I do not have the words to express how I feel. I am just so disappointed.
‘The poppy just represents so much and there has been so much media coverage around what the poppy means. It is just incomprehensible why someone would do this.’
Meanwhile, Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Spratley, a serving reservist who has been helping to organise this year’s Poppy Appeal, said that people needed to show respect for fallen soldiers, regardless of their views on war.
‘People have put a lot of hard work and effort into making the poppies for a worthwhile cause,’ he said.
‘Jersey is a very generous place when it comes to the Poppy Appeal and we collect very good sums of money every year – it is just a shame that it only takes one person to spoil it.’