‘Your heart sinks’ says rector after three Whittlesey churches broken into inside 30 hours

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Religious buildings were targeted by thieves after three churches and a Salvation Army store all in Whittlesey were broken into within a period of 30 hours.

Police are asking churches and other religious buildings to review their security after the burglaries between Tuesday morning, June 9, and 12.30pm the following day.

Rector Nigel Whitehouse admitted his heart sunk when he twice discovered thieves had broken into St Mary’s Church.

Rector Whitehouse discovered the church in Station Road was broken into on Tuesday with thieves taking £100. The next morning, he discovered there had been a second break-in despite the church having been locked overnight.

And although nothing had been taken, a stained glass window from the Victorian period had been smashed which, Rector Whitehouse said, “can never be replaced.”

The church was temporarily locked all day after the break-ins, but Rector Whitehouse added: “People visit us to pray and last week a couple were delighted that on their Diamond Wedding they could stand in the spot where they were married 60 years earlier.”

Police Community Support Officer Ian Moll said he could not remember such a spate of church break ins during his seven years in the role.

He added: “We went around every church and religious group to make them aware of the problem and make sure their security is as good as it can be.”

The Methodist United Reform Church, Queen Street, had a rear window smashed and a laptop stolen. Offenders also broke into St Andrew’s Church, Church Street, but are said to have taken nothing.

And the Salvation Army in High Causeway was broken into with around £250 taken.

No arrests have been made.