top of page

Man banned from every single church in the UK after decades-long stealing spree

Christopher Coulthard has been stealing money from churches since the 1970s. After finally being caught this year, he admitted to being a serial church burglar

Coulthard has been sentenced to over three years in prison (Image: Ed Stilliard)

A 61-year-old man has been banned from every single church in Britain after he targeted the holy buildings in a spree of sinful crimes.

Christopher Coulthard raided collection boxes in churches across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Kent and Oxfordshire. Judge Ian Pringle heard that Coulthard didn’t stop with churches - he did the same at schools, and sentenced Coulthard to three years and one month in prison.

Judge Pringle banned Coulthard from attending churches after his crimes, including the theft of £50 from money boxes locked in a safe from St John’s Roman Catholic Church in Rochester, Kent. Coulthard was caught after DNA tests on a smear of blood on the door handle. He will now be put behind bars if he ever steps into a church in the UK.

Another shocking crime saw Coulthard break into St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School on June 15, 2022, and peek into the classrooms as he strolled through the corridors. He nicked £150 in cash from a teacher’s purse, before being spotted by the caretaker who went to find him.

Oxford Crown Court heard he broke into another church called St John’s, where he smashed open a safe and stole £5,700 in cash on May 31, 2023 - but was caught on CCTV. He struck again in St James’ Church in Radley, where he took more donation money.

Coulthard admitted to stealing from churches since 1970 ( Image: PA)

On August 13, a church worker who went to get the money from All Saints Church in Surrey to take to a bank, arrived to find it all gone. CCTV footage showed Coulthard once again was behind the £500 theft.

To conclude his thieving spree, Coulthard returned to St James’ Church in Radley - and was spotted outside the church by someone who recognised him from CCTV pictures. The police were called and found Coulthard with screwdrivers, torches, and an annotated map which highlighted the locations of 100 churches and other spots.

After his arrest, Coulthard confessed to being a repeat church-burglar, admitting he started stealing from churches in the 1970s. He was sentenced on Friday by Judge Pringle, who said: "This is repeat offending. You have done this in the past and you know what the outcome is going to be. I have kept the sentence as low as possible.”

Coulthard, of no fixed abode, will face over three years in prison, and has signed a Criminal Behaviour Order banning him from entering churches or religious buildings without written permission from a church worker or minister. The judge added: "For all the burglaries you will serve three years and four months in jail. For the theft you will serve 18 months, to run concurrently. This is a total of three years and one quarter in prison."


8 views0 comments


bottom of page