Police investigate church burglary links

POLICE are to investigate a possible link between a spate of burglaries at churches and nearby buildings following three similar incidents in the space of just days.

POLICE are to investigate a possible link between a spate of burglaries at churches and nearby buildings following three similar incidents in the space of just days.

The parish council at Long Melford was left counting the cost yesterday morning after discovering an outhouse close to the village's Holy Trinity Church had been targeted.

Around £2,000 of lawnmowers, strimmers, water pumps and petrol cans had been taken, while big double security doors had been pulled from their hinges - causing another £2,000 of damage.

The loss has been described as “frustrating” by officials, who said the equipment is used to maintain the churchyard which is regularly visited by loved ones grieving at their relatives' graves.

You may also want to watch:

“It is so frustrating,” said Linda Goodban, parish council clerk. “Primarily the equipment is used for maintaining the churchyard, as it is a place which evokes a very emotional output from people involved.

“Obviously it is associated with funerals so we don't want it to start to look messy.

Most Read

“Alan, who looks after the churchyard, takes great pride in his work, but we will have to wait a couple of weeks before we get new equipment and at this time of year everything grows so rapidly.

“There is a snowball effect with this sort of thing. It is not just the loss of equipment, but it is everything else which goes with it.

“The burglars pulled the front double security doors off the building and broke the alarm and the light fitting. We are probably looking at up to £4,000 in total, including the damage.”

The break-in follows two similar incidents in the west of Suffolk during the last few days.

On Friday, the church organist at St Peters Church in Nowton, near Bury St Edmunds, discovered vandals had smashed an irreplaceable stain glass window, which dates back to the 16th Century.

Although nothing was taken from the church, a lawnmower was stolen from a shed outside.

And the same day, a man forced a door at the Baptist Church in nearby Whepstead and stole a video player.

He was then seen driving away from the church in a white Toyota van, which was thought to have a lawnmower in the back.

Mike Nunn, spokesman for Suffolk police, said an investigation would now be launched to discover if there was any connection between the three crimes.

“We will be investigating to determine if this offence is linked with previous similar offences across the county,” he said.

“We would ask anyone who lives near a church to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately. Also always ensure that you have security arrangements in place.

“For crime reduction advice, contact your local police station, where marker pens, shed alarms and other security equipment are all available for sale.”

Officers investigating the incident are now appealing for anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area during Tuesday night to contact them.

Anyone who has any information about the break-in in Long Melford should contact Sudbury police on 01284 774100.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter