A “callous thief” reportedly snatched a jar of donations containing around £600 before fleeing after charity fundraising event at a Sutton church.

The chancer is said to have taken the money while refreshments were being served at Trinity Church Sutton in Cheam Road after 8pm on July 1.

Funds were being raised by the Trinity Church Festival Choir for Cruse Bereavement Care Sutton, a new charity launching this September.

David Dickinson, the church’s minister, said: “Whilst refreshments were being served, someone who had not been in the audience was noticed.

“They were slightly suspicious but only in retrospect, and suddenly he snatched a jar – which had some of the donations in it – and ran.

“While I went out to try and see if I could see him if he had gone to a pub first, or something of that sort, we couldn’t trace him.”

The person concerned was believed to not have been known to anyone at the church before being seen in the church’s vestry.

He apparently ran off down St Nicholas Way before turning into Hill Road, in between All Bar One and the Moon on the Hill pub.

Mr Dickinson described him as a white male wearing a pair of khaki trousers and shirt, possibly in his late 20s or early 30s, who had a "slightly foreign accent".

A Met Police spokeswoman said officers were called to reports of a theft at the church at around 8.10pm on July 1.

No arrests have been made at this current stage while enquiries continue, she added.

The £600 allegedly stolen made up around half of the total £1,200 raised on the night.

Paul Gotts, Trinity Church Sutton’s circuit administrator, said: “It’s very upsetting for all the people who donated contributions, expecting it to go to a very worthwhile new bereavement support service in the borough. Instead someone has made off with it.

“It’s very upsetting for everyone who gave up a lot of time and effort to put on the charity event last night.”

However, Mr Dickinson doesn’t believe anyone can be blamed for the incident because it all happened “very quickly”.

Cruse Bereavement Charity Sutton is a new project which aims to support those after the death of someone close to them.