Thieves steal nearly £3,000 of tools from church grounds

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PARISHIONERS were left shocked after £2,800 worth of gardening tools were stolen from Church-in-the- Wood last weekend.

The tools including lawnmowers, leaf-blowers, a generator, and smaller tools were taken from a padlocked shipping container in two separate break-ins on Saturday and Sunday night.

This came as a blow after an extremely successful Heritage Open Days weekend, which saw more than 100 people visit the church.

The equipment was used by volunteers to maintain the churchyard, which covers a large area surrounding the church in Churchwood Lane.

Rector Deryck Charnock said: “It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth that someone would steal from a church. We have a very large churchyard, which is very well attended and kept in good order. We are not going to be beaten, we will find a way to replace the equipment.”

The tools were taken when the thieves cut off the padlock that secured the container. The first night they took the large equipment, then returned the following night for the generator and smaller tools. Mr Charnock said: “It was obviously well thought out, as they came tooled up, and it’s a fairly secluded place.”

He added that in the five years he had been rector, the church had experienced no problems with theft, so this had come completely out of the blue.

The tools were insured, however there is an excess payable to the insurance company, which will make a noticeable dent in church funds, which come entirely from donations and collections.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact 0845 60 70 999.

Turn to page 20 for Heritage Open Day coverage