Kent metal thieves target Bishopsbourne church brass

Metal thieves have stolen brass items from a village church near Canterbury, Kent Police have said.

Officers said thieves climbed into a church vestry in Bishopsbourne and took three candlesticks, a cross, a church plate, a book rest and five vases.

Two of the candlesticks and the 2ft (0.6m) high altar cross were covered in semi-precious stones.

The theft at St Mary's Church happened between Tuesday and Thursday, Det Con Jonathan Heard said.

The vestry was locked at the time, he added.

Patrols stepped up

He 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."

He said house-to-house inquiries were being carried out, inquiries were also being made at local scrap metal dealers, and patrols had been stepped up in the area.

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