Church thieves slammed by priest
A SUFFOLK priest has slammed heartless thieves who stole thousands of pounds of silver from a village church.Father Peter Macleod-Miller said the people responsible for stealing 40 pieces of silver, including chalices and goblets, from All Saints Church and his rectory in Barrow had committed a crime against the community.
A SUFFOLK priest has slammed heartless thieves who stole thousands of pounds of silver from a village church.
Father Peter Macleod-Miller said the people responsible for stealing 40 pieces of silver, including chalices and goblets, from All Saints Church and his rectory in Barrow had committed a crime against the community.
Father Peter, who was taking home communions in the village at the time of theft, said: "I am disturbed people can steal from the church and it is regrettable.
"It is a crime against the community and the church as a lot of the silver was donated by generations of people in the village.
"They obviously had an eye for the better things in life as they took all the best things in my life. Although I hope people will take our message away from the church, I did not expect them to take the silver.
"The silver is worth thousands of pounds, but it is not just the financial worth, it's what it means to the church and me."
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Thieves also stole silver and a home communion set from a safe inside the church after taking a bunch of keys from the rectory.
Father Peter said keys to other church safes in his benefice were also taken but concerned churchwardens had now emptied the safes.
Although some of the items stolen were used for holy communions and baptisms, Father Peter said forthcoming services would not be affected as they could borrow from nearby churches.
The thefts would not change the church's policy of remaining open during the day with Father Peter saying: "All our churches are open as we don't want people to see them as a fortress.
"We feel it is very important to keep the churches open during the day."
Father Peter also said this weekend's flower festival would not be affected and he hoped parishioners could use the event to help brighten up the 1,000 year old church.
A police spokesman said: "We believe some of the items stolen have Barrow Church marked on them so they should be easy to identify.
"We would ask anyone who is offered such items in suspicious circumstances or finds them at some kind of auction or car boot sale to contact us."
Police are also keen to speak to a man seen in the area at the time of the thefts who has been described as white, 5ft 10ins tall with grey hair and about 50 years old. He was wearing a dark coloured work-style clothes with a jacket and a blue baseball cap.
The theft took place sometime between 9.50am and 12.45pm on Monday and anyone with information should contact Det-con Simon Bendall on 01284 774100.