A gang of thieves broke into the Lady St. Mary Church and stole some historic artifacts. It is believed that they utilized explosives to breach the church.
Historic Treasures Stolen Inside Lady St. Mary Church
According to BBC News, authorities said that the Lady St. Mary Church in Wareham, located in the county of Dorset, was broken into by a gang on April 14. Simon Everett, the rector of the team, stated that it appears the perpetrators utilized explosives to gain access to the safe, which held chalices, plates, and other items. He explained that very few individuals knew that the church kept the valuables.
“How people knew they were there, whether they just took potluck, we really don’t know. It is quite mysterious. I’m not sure they knew where to go in the church because all the locked doors had been forced open until eventually, they found the safe and then blew it open,” Everett added.
As per Mail Online, the church’s 25 pieces of communion silver were taken in their secured vault. Among the stolen items was an Elizabethan chalice that was 450 years old and valued at £30,000 or around $38,000. In addition, to gain entry into the Grade I listed structure from the 10th century, the thieves shattered a lead window and used angle grinders to crack apart the thick oak doors. They started by drilling a hole in the door of the three-foot-tall safe. After that, they positioned explosives within the safe to unlock the door.
Moreover, the attacker reportedly sabotaged the electricity to ensure the church had surveillance cameras. Then they forced their way through each closed door within the church to finally locate the safe hidden away in one of the storage rooms. Their haul consisted of an Elizabethan chalice that was 7 inches tall and a chalice that dated back to the time of Charles II. Several valuables that belonged to churches in the surrounding area were being stored there since those churches did not have personal vaults were also seized. To avoid having their fingerprints found, the criminals employed a lubricant, most likely WD40. On the other hand, the church’s concern is that the precious items may now be destroyed by being melted down.
Incidents of Theft on Churches in England
In a string of crimes that the police in Nottinghamshire suspect are connected to, the perpetrators have been breaking into local churches. On March 1, intruders broke into two churches: St. Leodegarius in Church Road, Basford, and St. Mary the Virgin and All Souls in Highbury Road, Bulwell. The broken windows and doors were found the day after the break-ins. It is thought that a third church, St. Wildrid’s, located on Church Drive in Wilford, was targeted during the nighttime hours of the previous evening.
On each occasion, valuable silverware was taken, including six candlesticks from the All Souls at Bulwell church. On March 1, in the middle of the night, another church, St. Mary’s in Plumtree, was vandalized. The police suspect the crimes are related and are pleading with anyone with information to speak out. They are also communicating with churches around the area to alert the congregations there about the offenses committed.