Empty church targeted by burglars

By Ian Dipple Tuesday 26 November 2013 Updated: 27/11 09:47

BURGLARS have targeted a disused church which has stood empty for more than a year.

A large amount of piping, radiators and religious items were taken during the raid on St George's Church, in St George's Road.

It was broken into sometime between November 7 and 12 when the boarded up door to the connected church hall was forced. A door into the church itself was also forced after a steel bar securing it was ripped from the wall.

A quantity of central heating piping was taken, along with a brass aspersorium (a holy water bucket) and sprinkler, a broken brass processional cross, a brass communion bell set, a trophy, a sanctuary lamp, a brass candle snuffer, a brass jug, brass double armed candlestick, around 40 D-shaped brass umbrella holders from pew-ends, and a bowl, possibly made of lead, from the font.

PC Stuart Mackenzie, from West Mercia Police, said: "The offenders caused significant damage to the church hall. Pipes leading to radiators, taps and toilets were all torn out, radiators were pulled off the walls, some of the cisterns smashed, and piping from the boiler removed.

"They then broke into the main church, taking more piping, along with items mainly made of brass, including a candlestick which had connections to the Milward family - the Redditch factory owners who partly paid for the church to be built.

"It is shocking that a church has been broken into and stripped not only of its piping but of religious items, and we hope that anyone who sees them offered for sale, or knows where they are now, will contact us."

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The church closed in 2012, two years after proposals were first made to shut it due to a dwindling congregation and rising costs.

John Dentith, secretary to the Closed Churches Committee in the Diocese of Worcester, said: "This was a typical metal theft, with small metal items and copper piping taken. It's upsetting for the local church community and we hope anyone who sees any of the items for sale will report it to the police.

"We have made sure all the church hall doors and windows are now securely boarded up."

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