Church sickened after being hit by opportunist metal thieves
Churchwarden Gill Applin
and Rev Stephen Hardy at St Mary's Church, Bishopsbourne. Picture:
A village church has become the latest target for callous
Priceless, rare brass items including candlesticks and altar
crosses were stolen from St Mary’s Church in Bishopsbourne in broad
daylight as thieves climbed over the organ into the vestry to grab
The wicked act has left parishioners and volunteers stunned,
including church warden Gill Applin, who made the sad
discovery last Thursday.
She said: "It's absolutely sickening. I've been part of the
church almost my whole life since I was a choir girl, aged
"There's been so much hard work done by so many volunteers, so
many happy moments with weddings and christenings and this is such
a real shame."
Gill, 69, from Petham, admits the theft was not immediately
apparent when she first went to lock up the church at 4.30pm on
She added: "Some things had only slightly been moved around,
rather than left strewn across the floor. The first thing I noticed
was the small altar had been slightly moved and there was a
candlestick that had fallen to the floor.
"As I went around to look in the vestry, it soon became clear
what had gone missing. But, everything had still been left behind
tidily. Whoever it was had been quite careful not to disrupt more
than they needed."
Among the precious items stolen
were a brass candelabra, two large brass candlesticks covered in
semi-precious stones, a 2ft high brass altar cross (pictured
right) and a brass church plate.
They were taken sometime between 9.30am on Tuesday, December 27
and 4.30pm on Thursday, December 29.
Police have conducted house-to-house inquiries in the village
and at local scrap metal dealers.
Det Con Jonathan Heard said: "To steal from a church, especially
at this time of year, is a pretty heartless thing to do.
"This will have been very upsetting for parishioners and we are
keen to catch the offenders. When thieves target a church, they are
targeting not just a historic building but a whole community."
Anyone with information is asked to phone Kent Police on
101 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting crime
Read more reaction in Thursday's Kentish
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