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Silverware and money stolen from St John's Church in Keswick

Some of the damage caused (Image: Rev Charles Hope)

CHURCHES across Cumbria have been warned to be extra vigilant following a burglary of silverware and £1,200 in cash from a church in Keswick.

Police received a report at around 9am on Monday (February 20), after those at the church discovered burglars had forced entry into the place of worship, taking money and silverware from a safe inside St John's Church.

Archdeacon The Ven Richard Pratt said it's 'horrible' to see.

"Any burglary or theft leaves a nasty taste in people's mouths," he said. "People ought to be able to feel safe in their homes but to go for a church is really horrible.

"Quite often thieves do a lot of damage that costs a lot to repair, sometimes more than the value of what's been taken.

"I imagine the church will have to pay for new locks and a new safe, presumably which will be paid by the insurance but in turn, that puts everyone's premiums up."

Following the burglary, the diocese of Carlisle have issued a warning to take stock of all inventory and silverware in case a similar incident occurs.

"We've had more metal thefts than we've had break ins and thefts," the Archdeacon said. "Burglaries are thankfully a lot rarer, but we have warned all churches in the county to tell them that this happened.

"I know some people are desperately poor but you don't need to turn to crime. On that matter, churches operate foodbanks, we help people who are poor.

"We encourage churches to be open during the day, as do our insurers, and again the sadness of this behaviour is it makes that more difficult."

Churches often mark silverware and furniture with anti-theft smart water, which works similar to MicroDot technology, meaning it will be difficult for the stolen silver to be sold-on unidentified.

Churches have been reminded to ensure these are all up to date.

A spokesperson from Cumbria Police said: "Anyone with information relating to this incident can report online at , quoting incident number 54 of February 20.

"You can also phone on 101. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111," they said.

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