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Raiders strike at church

PUBLISHED: 12:12 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:09 05 July 2010

An official at one of East Anglia's landmark churches has spoken of his sadness after raiders broke in through a window and stole valuable furniture.

Thieves fled from the Holy Trinity Church at Blythburgh, in north Suffolk, with a 600-year-old chest table, a Victorian kneeling desk worth about £700, and the nave altar in the form of a heavy oak table.

An official at one of East Anglia's landmark churches has spoken of his sadness after raiders broke in through a window and stole valuable furniture.

Thieves fled from the Holy Trinity Church at Blythburgh, in north Suffolk, with a 600-year-old chest table, a Victorian kneeling desk worth about £700, and the nave altar in the form of a heavy oak table.

Church treasurer Dick Allen, who discovered the break-in when he opened up for a service, said: “It is sad that people will do this to a church.

“We are trying to keep it open because there is no point in having a closed church, but this is an abuse of that. We have an enormous number of visitors and the church stands out.

“These are things that may have been given to the church years ago and they have an intrinsic value in that they are part of the fabric of the church. It leaves one feeling rather sad.”

A church has stood in Blythburgh for 1,000 years and the Holy Trinity is affectionately knows as 'the cathedral of the marshes' because of the way it looms up from the Blyth estuary.

The intruders got in through a plain window of the building, in Church Lane, some time between 6.15pm on Saturday and 9am the following morning. Police are particularly keen to speak to anyone who suspects they have been offered the stolen furniture or has been asked about the value of such items.

Mr Allen said he believed the raid was planned because the thieves would have needed a large vehicle to get away with their haul. Other than the kneeling desk, the value of the stolen items is unknown although the church is likely to have to pay hundreds of pounds to repair the damage. It is insured, but will be liable for the excess on its policy.

Mr Allen added: “This is the first time that we've had anything stolen of this size. They must have had a substantial vehicle to take the items away.”

Anyone with information should contact PC Lee Simons at Saxmundham police station on 01473 613500.

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