Police are issuing a plea to local communities to be on the look-out for suspicious activity in their villages after criminals targeted churches in Little Saxham and Dalham this week.
Between 8pm on Tuesday October 14 and 8am yesterday, Wednesday October 15, two bells valued at £5,000 each were stolen from inside the entrance of St Nicholas’ Church in Little Saxham.
This followed an incident which took place between 5pm on Sunday October 12 and 5pm on Monday October 13 at St Mary’s Church in Dalham, where the roof entrance of the bell tower was entered and the door at the bottom of the tower was also forced open and damaged.
Nothing was stolen on this occasion, but the church was previously targeted by thieves in July of this year when tens of thousands of pounds worth of lead was stolen from the church roof.
Detective Inspector Nick Power, of Bury St Edmunds CID, said: “We are unfortunately beginning to see a re-emergence of metal thieves targeting churches and in respect of the theft at Little Saxham, they are no longer just targeting lead.
“Stealing bells of this size or large amounts of lead requires a significant amount of effort and also a large vehicle to load it on. As such thieves would not be inconspicuous and I would appeal to local communities to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity around churches to the police immediately.
“These types of theft are extremely damaging, costing churches vast sums of money to carry out repairs and replace the stolen items. We will continue to offer support to churches around enhancing their security and are determined to catch those responsible.”
Anyone with information about either of these crimes, or who believes they witnessed any suspicious activity in the villages concerned, is asked to contact Bury CID on 101 quoting reference BR/14/759.
If a crime is believed to be in progress members of the public are urged to call 999 and report it immediately.
Any clergy or churchwardens with concerns over the security of their buildings should contact their local Crime Reduction Officer on 101 who will be able to offer them advice.