BREAKING NEWS: thieves target Worthing’s places of worship

Five church buildings, a Friends meeting house and a priest’s house have been broken into in less than a week to steal cash and computers.

Police are appealing for information about each of the incidents.

The first to be targeted was St John the Divine church hall in Ripley Road where a kitchen window was smashed to gain entry between 8pm on 1 August and 9.30am on 2 August.

Thieves broke into cupboards and took a black metal box containing a small amount of cash.

At around the same time offenders broke into the priest’s house in Gratwicke Road, attached to St Mary of the Angels church.

They smashed a window and stole three laptops, a Toshiba notebook, speakers and two hard drives.

On August 3 visitors to the Friends Meeting House in Mill Road discovered that the building had been broken into.

The intruders had forced open a door inside and ripped a small safe containing keys off the wall. They stole the safe and a wooden collecting box.

Late on August 2 or early on August 3 thieves threw bricks through two windows at Offington Park Methodist Church in South Farm Road to get inside but left empty handed.

At about 3pm on August 3 offenders kicked in the door of St Mary of the Angels Church in Richmond Road, broke into the shop inside and stole up to £30 from the till.

On August 5 it was discovered that thieves had thrown a brick through a window at St John the Divine church hall again but this time they did not get into the building.

The seventh offence happened at St Stephen’s Church in Angola Road between 8pm on August 5 and 10.45am on August 7.

The intruders forced their way into a ground floor window in the church office and stole an iPad and £160.

Sussex Police has launched Operation Magpie to tackle burglary across the county.

Sergeant Craig Burgess said: “In each case the offenders have used bricks or brute force to smash their way into the religious buildings and while they have not escaped with much in some of the burglaries, they have caused great upset.

“The thieves have thought nothing of committing crimes on sacred ground and appear to have deliberately targeted buildings they believed would be easy targets - no matter the pain or suffering they caused to their victims.

“The buildings were all in residential areas and I would appeal to anyone who lives near them to contact us if they saw or heard anything suspicious at the time.”

Anyone with information about any of the burglaries should call 101 quoting serial 603 of 7 August or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.