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Photo by Nagesh Badu on Unsplash
Photo by Nagesh Badu on Unsplash
World News

'You don't need to steal from the church': Vicar offers support to those struggling after church theft

by Lydia Davies

The vicar of St Matthew's Church in Burnley, Fr. Alex Frost, has issued a heartfelt appeal for anyone financially struggling to come forward for help following the theft of approximately £1,000 worth of goods from the church premises.

The incident, which involved the theft of various items, including a watch, occurred on 15th March during a choir rehearsal.

Explaining the events, Fr Frost told the Lancashire Telegraph: "It happened in the early evening while my choir was practising. The door hadn't been locked, and the person in question saw the light on, tried the door, and entered the church. He started rummaging around in the vicar's vestry and took some valuables. Items that had been donated for charity had been moved. A watch was stolen."

In response to this event, St Matthew's Church issued a cautionary statement advising visitors to safeguard their personal belongings while on church grounds.

The statement highlighted: "While we wish to support the most vulnerable people in our parish, criminal activity will not be tolerated, and perpetrators can expect to face the criminal justice system with our full support." It also urged against speculation about the identity of the thief, noting that "he is not a regular at our church."

Expressing his disappointment over the theft, Fr Frost described it as a "kick in the teeth," as the suspected individual may have been someone previously assisted by the church with food vouchers. "It shows you how desperate some people can become," he reflected.

In light of these events, Fr Frost is reaching out to anyone facing financial difficulties to contact the church for support rather than resorting to theft. "If you are struggling then please reach out to us. If we can help you, we will. We can signpost you in the right direction in terms of help and support," he assured.

Fr Frost concluded with a message of hope for the individual responsible for the theft: "I hope the person responsible gets the help they need. You don't need to steal from the church."

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