Ruthless thieves cut their way into a store in the grounds of a Hartlepool church.
The crooks cut their way through the hinges of a former shipping container in the churchyard of Hart Village Church in a bid to steal equipment stored inside overnight on Friday to Saturday, and returned 24 hours later to force their way into the boiler room.
What worries me is not just the mess they have made, but the damage they have caused and what they might do in the future.Charles Johnson
“The stuff that was taken and damaged was stuff that was bought by many residents from the village and from our congregation, stuff that was used for the churchyard,” said church warden Charles Johnson.
“They could not get the locks off – they must have had an angle grinder and they ground through the locks and prised both the doors open a couple of feet so one of them could get in.”
Charles is not sure exactly what the thieves got away with, as the doors of the container have had to be welded shut for security.
“The following day, they came back and sawed the lock off the boiler room,” he said.
“They fiddled with the switches, but fortunately they have not done any damage, so we have been able to get the boiler going again.
“What worries me is not just the mess they have made, but the damage they have caused and what they might do in the future.
“We have got new gates on the car park, bought by public subscription.
“To do something like this at a church bang on Christmas – where are they going next? An old folk’s home or a children’s home?”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Pc Darren Guest on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.