Spate of church thefts in north Norfolk

A clergyman has sent out a warning to churches after a spate of thefts in the north Norfolk area.

Rev Simon Lawrence, rural dean of St Benet at Waxham and Tunstead and vicar at St Mary's Church in Stalham, spoke out after a number of thefts and attempted break-ins at churches in Stalham, Sutton, Happisburgh, Sea Palling and Waxham.

At St Mary's, which was broken into three times over the weekend, he estimates as much as �3,000 worth of electrical equipment including a sound system, microphone and large custom built trolley, was taken.

He said thieves had first targeted the church on Friday which is when the electrical equipment was taken.

They then came back the following day and took washing-up liquid, bowls and towels. On Sunday night they broke the padlock on the porch and tried to gain access to the church again but were unsuccessful.

During the week there had also been a break-in at St Michael's Church in Sutton where candles and brass objects were taken. Rev Lawerence said he believed the crimes could be linked, or if not then the area was definitely being targeted. He said he had also sent out an email to other churches and church members to be on their guard, and the police had also sent out a warning to churches.

He said; 'Churches are easy targets because they are unlocked, people are used to others going in and out of them at all hours and they are places where strangers go as well. To lock them up would be an awful step to take , we will not let them win.'