Collection boxes stolen from village churches


Police - Credit: Archant

Church donation boxes have been forced open and money stolen, causing “great sadness” for parishioners.

St Mary the Virgin Church in Little Wymondley and St Mary the Virgin Church in Great Wymondley have both been targeted by thieves.

David Palmer, treasurer of the Little Wymondley church, said: “The villages of Great and Little Wymondley both have beautiful old churches that are open to visitors for most days of the year.

“We know that some people come for a few moments of quiet reflection or prayer, others admire the interior of these magnificent buildings.

“A number of visitors make a donation towards church funds on leaving, for which we are most grateful. This money is vital in helping to fund urgent repairs, or simply to enable the church to continue to exist as a central part of the community.

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“It was therefore will great sadness that members of both churches recently discovered that their collection boxes had been forced open and the money stolen.”

It is thought the amount in the collection boxes was nominal –between £20 and £30 – but Mr Palmer said it is stealing from church which makes the act particularly abhorrent.

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“Should anyone consider similar actions in the future, let us hope that the surroundings that they are in, or their conscience, prevents them from causing further concern and distress for a relatively small amount of money,” he said.

A spokesman for the Diocese of St Albans, which both these churches come under, said: “The advice is that churches are actually safer when they are open.

“They are far less likely to experience theft because of the chance that anyone could walk in at any moment. The insurers feel the same way.

“If they are locked, they are definitely empty and it gives thieves time and opportunity.”

He added: “Churches are not just for Sundays. We want people to feel they can go whenever they want. Churches are there to be used and we would like the doors to be open.”

Reverend Ann Pollington, who is the vicar for both churches, said: “It is upsetting and so disappointing. We might have to look at a walled safe, but that costs money and we can’t afford it. It’s such a shame when people take advantage.”

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