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Thieves target St Michael and All Angels Church in Hawkshead

CHURCH leaders are in shock after thieves broke in and stole antique silver.

St Michael and All Angels Church in Hawkshead (Image: St Michael and All Angels Church in Hawkshead)

St Michael and All Angels Church in Hawkshead was broken into sometime between late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

The thieves smashed a window to gain entry and broke down several locked doors to target the church vestry, where most of the silver items were being kept in a safe.

After drilling into the safe, the thieves stole all of the silver belonging to St Michaels as well as pieces belonging to Wray church that were being held after it recently closed. It is estimated that between 20 and 30 items were taken, some of which were antique pieces of history.

John Dixon, the vicar of St Michael and All Angels Church, said the break-in 'seems to be a fairly professional job' that was carried out by 'people who knew what they were doing.'

The thieves used an oily substance when drilling into the safe which 'splashed all over the room and made quite a mess', said the Rev.

He said a similar break in was carried out at a church in Keswick in February and said 'other churches need to be vigilant'.

He said: “I’m surprised by how shocked I find myself; the church is part of the community, and this feels like a desecration, a violation. They have taken special things which cannot be replaced, some of the items have been used for decades.

“It was a blessing that no-one was hurt, they have only taken things, but it is still a horrid thing to happen.

“People are coming up to me and expressing their horror, the whole community feels as if something has been taken from them. Even non-church goers are shocked that someone would steal from the church.”

He said there is 'always hope' and added that if anyone would return the items 'that would be lovely'

Following the break-in, St Michaels was locked up for a while as the damage was dealt with. The church did not experience much disturbance as many people rallied to help clean up and fix new locks on the doors. They were able to hold a service for the community and see 'light in darkness.'

The incident has been reported to Cumbria Police. Anyone with information relating to this incident to report online at, quoting incident number 73 of 29 July. You can also phone 101.


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