A callous sneak thief swiped a children’s charity box from a restaurant while a worker was busy on the phone.
CCTV footage shows a man snatching booze as well as cash intended for the Daisy Chain Trust, which was set up to help disadvantaged youngsters.
It was originally thought the collection tin had merely been misplaced or put away for safekeeping within the Shore Place premises.
But when it failed to turn up two weeks later, the suspicious restaurant owner trawled through the footage to discover the truth.
The video shows a man furtively casing out the business before helping himself to cash and alcohol.
The staff member on duty was in a back office taking a call when the thief started ransacking the restaurant before it had opened for the day.
Owner Daniel Shearon then made a public appeal via social media in a bid to track down the thief and plug the charity.
Staff estimated that the collection box contained £90 donated by big-hearted customers over several weeks.
“It appears to be an entirely opportunistic theft,” added Mr Shearon. “He came in and found that no-one was about and helped himself.
“He wandered around the back of the bar and took bottles of spirits. He came in and out of the restaurant a number of times.
“When he discovered there was nothing in the till he grabbed the charity box.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh are investigating following the theft of various items from a restaurant in Leith.
“The incident happened around 10.30am on September 20, and was reported to us on Monday [October 3].
“A charity collection bucket was stolen along with alcohol and inquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible.
“Anyone with information that can assist police with their investigation is asked to come forward.”
Established in 2003, the Daisy Chain Trust helps children’s organisations in the Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders.
It awards grants to groups working with children up to the age of 18 in medical care, welfare and education
Members also organise a fundraising events throughout the year across their patch.
The Trust is staffed entirely by volunteers so that almost all the funds raised go directly to local children.
Mr Shearon said he was determined to “turn this terrible act into a positive”.
“The Daisy Chain Trust is very close to our hearts,” he said. “We love it because it’s run entirely by volunteers, so 97 per cent of the money raised goes directly to those who need it most.
“Their biggest fundraising event of the year, the Chuffs Extravaganza, is coming up next month at Oxenfoord Castle. We’d love it if people could go and support them or so the small amount of money lost can be recuperated and then some.”