Community anger at church break-in
A PRIEST has spoken of his frustration after a burglar broke in to his medieval church – causing up to £1,000 of damage.The burglar got in through a window at St Andrew's church in Cotton, near Stowmarket – a window that had just been repaired and renovated thanks to the Friends of Cotton Church volunteers.
By John Howard
A PRIEST has spoken of his frustration after a burglar broke in to his medieval church - causing up to £1,000 of damage.
The burglar got in through a window at St Andrew's church in Cotton, near Stowmarket - a window that had just been repaired and renovated thanks to the Friends of Cotton Church volunteers.
Once inside the intruder found nothing of value and managed to force his way out through the 13th century door.
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Rev Robin Jack, rector of St Andrew's, said the parochial church council is now considering leaving the church unlocked in future so people could enjoy the building and any potential thieves who walk inside would find there is nothing worth stealing.
The break-in happened sometime between 5pm on Tuesday and 9.45am on Wednesday and the damage has left hard working volunteers dismayed.
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Mr Jack said: "It's all rather sad. The burglar got in through the north west window, a window the Friends of Cotton Church had just finished paying for to be repaired and renovated.
"Someone started by chipping away at the bottom of the window and then squeezed in. Once inside they caused no further damage and took nothing.
"They caused quite a lot of damage for absolutely nothing. The church has been locked and there are now talks about reopening it again.
"The church is there for everyone and this is like burgling your own home. I'm afraid it is youths and we are in talks with the insurers.''
The latest break-in comes after a number of burglaries, attempted burglaries or vandalism at nearby churches in recent years.
At Old Newton, burglars broke in and cut the heads off two microphones and at Bacton the church was vandalised several years ago.
Andrew Stringer, a founder member of the Friends organisation, said: "It's a slap in the face. We have a very active community in Cotton and people work hard. It's incredibly frustrating.
"But we will not be bowed by this and it will make us even more determined to raise money for the church.''
A Suffolk Constabulary police spokesman said officers found it particularly distressing that a church had been targeted and considerable damage had been caused.
Officers are urging those who live around churches to report any suspicious activity immediately and if anyone has any information about the latest incident to contact police on 01284 774100.
n The Friends of Cotton Church are holding a preview for an art show at the church from 7pm at on May 28, to include cheese and wine. Tickets cost £6.