Thieves target rural churches

A safe in St Peter's Church has been forced open and its contents removed
A safe in St Peter's Church has been forced open and its contents removed

A SPATE of thefts from secure church donation boxes has left a reverend frustrated and disheartened.

Over the last couple of months thieves have forced their way inside wall-mounted deposit boxes at St Nicholas’ Church, The Street, Bramber, and St Peter’s Church, in Church Lane, Upper Beeding.

Reverend John Challis said: “It’s a shame. It costs money to put the safes in. This is people robbing the church and we are trying to do good things for people. The villages are lovely villages and the community people are lovely people. You just wonder whose need is greater these people obviously think their need is greater than ours. It’s just very frustrating and disheartening.”

The most recent theft saw around £50 taken and, in total, Mr Challis estimates the thefts have cost the church around £500 in stolen cash and damages.

Installing CCTV in the churches is not an option, according to Mr Challis, due to cost and the time it would take to search through footage. Earlier this year St Botolph’s Church, in Annington Road, Botolphs, was also vandalised.