VANDALS have desecrated a Hartlepool church by stealing a 6ft cross.
Worshippers at the town’s Salvation Army have been left devastated by the theft of the 6ft cross, which adorned the outside of the building.
The huge cross, which took four men to put into place three years ago, will cost several hundred pounds to replace.
Members of the church are disgusted that someone could not only steal from a place of worship, but also from an organisation which is dedicated to helping others.
Major Pauline Ingram, said because of the size of the cross someone must know of its whereabouts.
She said: “I don’t know what anyone would want with a plastic cross, it’s not like it’s made out of metal which could be melted down. It’s of no use to anyone else.
“But, it means a lot to us because we are a church at the end of the day, as well as a charity. We are all very upset that someone could take it.
“It is distressing that someone could steal from an organisation like the Salvation Army, which is not only a church, but also does so much to help others in need.”
Pauline said the cross, which was in the middle of the two entrance doors, was put in place as part of a major refurbishment of the Park Road building about three years ago.
She said: “I remember it being put up, and it took two men on ladders and two at the bottom holding it to put it in place.
“So, it was not an easy thing to steal, someone must have been intent on taking it and must have used ladders because the cross was at least six foot off the ground.
“We would really like it back or we will have to buy a replacement.”
The Salvation Army Major said the thick, clear, cross disappeared sometime between the evening of Thursday, April 23, and the morning of Saturday, April 25.
She said: “We left the building on Thursday night and the cross was there. I wasn’t at the church on Friday, but when I came on Saturday morning it had gone.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police confirmed they are investigating the theft of the cross.
She said: “Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have seen witnessed the theft or knows of the whereabouts of the cross.”
Anyone with information should contact Cleveland Police on 101.