Haverhill Rotary Club has praised two people who gave chase after their Saturday afternoon charity collection was snatched.
A 22-year-old man from Castle Camps has been bailed to appear in court on January 9 in connection with the theft.
Rotary Club treasurer Mike Morris said he has been doing collections for years and never had anything like it happen before.
The club had been collecting in the town Centre, with Santa and sleigh, and decided to call it a day at about 2.15pm.
Mike said: “I was carrying the bucket with loose change in it down the path beside St Mary’s Church. The next thing I knew I had the bucket yanked out of my hand and it’s gone.
“There were two or three members of the public who saw what happened and two of them set off in pursuit.”
When Mike and a colleague caught up in a car, the pair told them weher the man had gone and had already called the police, who later arrested the man and recovered the bucket of cash.
Mike said: “Whether they’ve got all the money back we’ll never know because we never had the chance to count it.”
Mike was still wearing his Rotary tabard, so the thief must have known it was money to go to local and national charities.
Mike said: “Someone said maybe he was desperate but if he was that desperate there are plenty of places he can get help.
“We see the people who donate this money and it’s obvious some of them are not that well off, but they make a donation – he just thinks he can grab it and take it.
“But the police were really good and there was the couple who went off in pursuit – without them the chap would never have been caught.”
The club will be back collecting in the High Street on Saturday and will be touring the estates on Monday, but they are stepping up security.