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Vicar tells of distress after burglars bulldoze their way into Bulwell church

A vicar has spoken of his distress after items of sentimental value were stolen in a break-in at a church in Bulwell.

Burglars bulldozed their way through a locked, solid-oak vestry door, possibly using a sledgehammer, to get into St Mary’s Church, on Highbury Road overnight between Wednesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 2 last week.

They then forced their way through another door, using a crowbar, to get into the main body of the church, from where six silver candlesticks, worth about £1,000, were stolen from the altar.

Father Andrew Fisher, said: “The candlesticks were given in memory of Canon Walter Beasley, who was a well-known vicar here for many years, so the theft is quite sad and has caused a lot distress among the congregation.

St Mary's Church on Highbury Road, Bulwell, which is a grade II listed building.

"A silver vase, given in memory of someone else, was stolen from the vestry, as well as the silver top from an acolyte’s candle stand. A large brass cross was also knocked over

"It is a huge blow, not just to the church but also to the community as a whole.

"St Mary’s has always worked hard to build a relationship with the local community. We run a food bank from the church premises, and uniformed organisations meet here every day of the week.

"Members of the church are asking: who breaks into a church? It’s so sad because if there is a genuine need there, we are here to help.”

Police are investigating and have carried out a forensic search of the church. Cigarette papers were found and taken away.

"It looks like a targeted, professional hit, rather than a crime committed by chancers,” said Father Fisher.

"Apparently, two other churches in the area, St Leodegarius at Basford and St Wilfrid’s at Wilford, were also broken into inside the same 48 hours, so there could be a pattern there.

Three of the stolen candlesticks, which were given to the church in memory of former vicar, Canon Walter Beasley.

"Ours happened between 9 pm on the Wednesday and 8.30 am the next day. It was discovered by a verger when he opened up for a service on the Thursday morning.”

St Mary’s Church, which dates back to 1851, is a grade II listed building of special architectural or historic interest. Canon Beasley died in 2012 at the age of 78.

Anyone with information about the break-in should call the police on 101, quoting crime number 23000130444.


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