Thieves raid church

PUBLISHED: 15:01 01 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:27 17 June 2010

DESPERATE thieves broke into Venn Ottery church under the cover of darkness this week and cold-heartedly stole religious items worth hundreds of pounds. The sacred silver items were taken from a locked metal box in the vestry of St Gregory s Church someti

DESPERATE thieves broke into Venn Ottery church under the cover of darkness this week and cold-heartedly stole religious items worth hundreds of pounds.

The sacred silver items were taken from a locked metal box in the vestry of St Gregory's Church sometime between 4pm on Sunday and 8am on Monday.

It is believed the thieves gained entry by bending a metal bar protecting one of the stained glass windows and smashing a panel before squeezing through the tight gap.

They stole a number of items, including a wafer box, a plate, a chalice and a bowl, before breaking the lock of a thick door and fleeing.

Judith Taylor, a member of the congregation and flower woman, discovered the break in: "I was down there clearing away the church flowers. The door has been tampered with but I didn't realise at the time. I walked outside and there was some glass on the floor- I looked up and was very surprised to see the window had been pushed through."

Judith believes the thieves knew to target that specific window, worth £1,500, as it leads directly to the vestry.

She added: "They knew what they were looking for as other things had been left.

"It is peculiar they went for that window as it's the only high one. If you want to break in it would've been a lot easier to go through one of the lower windows.

"I'm amazed at how they got up there as the window is about ten foot above the ground- they must've used a ladder."

Reverend Mark Ward, Otter Vale Vicar, said: "All of us at St Gregory's Church are very saddened by this."

A police spokesman said: "This was a determined effort to break in to the church and we hope that the distinctive items that were stolen will lead to every one being on the look out for them. Anyone with information about the precious items is urged to contact us."

If you have been offered any of these religious ornaments ring Sidmouth Police on 08452 777444 quoting crime reference number KS/09/54 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


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