Devizes church thieves 'caught lead-handed' during late night vigil

Revd Keith Brindle surveys the damage Image copyright St James' Church
Image caption Revd Keith Brindle said the would-be thieves "could not have chosen a worse time".

Two men trying to steal from a church roof were caught "lead-handed" by the reverend who was inside conducting a late night prayer vigil.

The incident happened at about 02:30 BST on Saturday morning at St James' Church in Devizes.

Revd Dr Keith Brindle - who was inside praying as part of a 24-hour knife amnesty - alerted police who arrested the two suspects who were on the roof.

He said the potential lead thieves "could not have chosen a worse time".

Revd Brindle said it was the first overnight vigil held in the church since he joined three-and-a-half years ago.

'Coincidences happen'

"We were there praying about the impact on knife crime in our community and a series of coincidences led to us being in the church at that time," he said.

"We could have chosen any other day, so we were there at the right place at the right time. Prayer, what a mysterious and wonderful thing it is. God was listening. They were caught lead-handed.

"To quote William Temple; 'When I pray coincidences happen, and when I don't, they don't."

Image copyright St James' Church
Image caption Two men have been arrested for the attempted theft

Church-goers have expressed their satisfaction at the outcome.

Posting on Facebook, Harry Brockway said: "As many people have said, the power of prayer is wonderful. It has "lead" to the thieves being caught."

And Nicola Rebbeck added: "Divine intervention! Perfect."

Wiltshire Police said a 29-year-old man from Melksham was arrested on suspicion of theft and attempted theft.

A 48-year-old man from Salisbury was also arrested on suspicion of attempted theft.

The 48-year-old man was released on bail, but the 29-year-old man was wanted on warrant for recall to prison and remanded in custody.

A spokesman said an investigation is taking place to determine if the two suspects are linked to other recent lead thefts in the area.

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