Vicar’s irritation as shelf stolen from East Preston church

Father Andrew Perry at St Mary's church, East Preston. Photo by Derek Martin Photography
Father Andrew Perry at St Mary's church, East Preston. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

A vicar has called for neighbours to stay vigilant after a shelf was stolen from his church.

According to Father Andrew Perry of St Mary’s Church in Vicarage Lane, East Preston, a large wooden shelf with an offertory box attached to it was stolen from a radiator after two young men were caught trying to steal a votive candle holder.

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He said: “It is petty small vandalism which is frustrating and irritating.

“This isn’t big stuff – they aren’t setting fire to the church or hacking the pews up with a chainsaw – but it is a lot of work for us to sort it out and they get little benefit themselves. There is very little money in there to take.”

Fr Perry said both the offertory box and candle holder only contained four or five pounds at any given time and were emptied regularly.

According to Sussex Police, a couple ‘observed two youths outside the church with the candle holder on Saturday, November 17.

After the man shouted at them, they dropped the stand and ran off. The shelf theft was noticed afterwards.

Fr Perry said: “We want to keep the church open and part of the community, so we are reliant on people in the area and neighbours to keep an eye on the church.”

Police are seeking the two young men. Witnesses to this incident can contact police on 101 or report it online, quoting reference number 0718 of 17/11.