July 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, March 10, 2014
Police are asking churches in the Maldon area and beyond to revisit their security arrangements following a series of thefts within the past few weeks.
Churches in Purleigh, Goldhanger, Wickham Bishops, Stow Maries and Stock have had a variety of religious items and statues stolen.
All Saints Church in Church Hill, Purleigh was entered between midday on February 16 and midday on February 21. A wooden cross and bible stand were stolen and damage was caused to a locked cupboard.
St Peter’s Church in Church Street, Goldhanger was entered between 9am and 11.45am on February 22.
Thieves stole a gold gilt ciborium consecrated cup which had a lid.
Engraved on the underside of the foot of the cup was ‘To the glory of God and in loving memory of Hilda Price 7/5/79 aged 82 and Francis Page died 23/01/82 aged 93’. Two small silver-plated and gold gilt pyxes were also taken.
St Bartholomew’s Church in Church Road, Wickham Bishops was entered between 12.30pm and 4.30pm on March 1.
Once inside the suspects took £5 in cash, a Victorian era, dark oak, carved Angel figure which was 4ft in height. It was bolted to the floor and damage was caused during its forced removal.
A plaque depicting the Virgin Mary with a child was stolen from All Saints Church in Stock Road, Stock between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on February 16.
And St Mary’s and St Margaret’s Church in Church Lane, Stow Maries was entered between 8.30am to 4.30pm on March 1.
Thieves stole a statue of the Virgin Mary with Jesus on her lap. This was between 12 and 18 inches tall and made of either plaster or wood.
Pc Lea Keene of Maldon Police Station, said: “We would ask all churches to review their security measures and for people living near any church to keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour.
“We have Crime Prevention Tactical Advisors who can be contacted via the 101 number for specialist advice on security steps that can be taken.
“We would also like to hear from any antique shops or second-hand property dealers who are offered any of the distinctive items taken from these churches for sale.”
Anyone with information about any of the burglaries or who is offered these items for sale can call Pc Keene at Maldon Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.