The Vicar of Sutton Bridge has called on the village to support its church after the ‘grief’ of last weekend’s raid.
At least £1,000 in cash and a smartphone were stolen when thieves broke into St Matthew’s Church, in Bridge Road, at about 1am on Monday, September 3.
There’s clearly a sense of community pain at what has happened to their church which is a place of both social and spiritual significanceThe Reverend David Oxtoby, Vicar of Sutton Bridge
Up to £10,000 damage was also caused by a gang who smashed a porch window in the church entrance and then got inside where they rifled through cupboards, drawers and a safe where the cash was kept.
An online campaign has been set up to raise £5,000 for St Matthew’s where a wedding and service were held on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The Reverend David Oxtoby, Vicar of St Matthew’s, said: “There’s clearly a sense of community pain at what has happened to their church.
“The community’s voice of indignation and a sense of shared ownership has also been apparent in that St Matthew’s is a place of both social and spiritual significance.
“A number of people from the community responded by volunteering to help clear up the church and two members (Kevin Wheeler and Charlie Doades) very kindly repaired every cupboard that had been forced open.
“Our vestry doors have been repaired and made secure again, a glazing firm replaced the porch window and all the other other church artefacts have been made safe.
“It would be nice to recover the £1,000 that we’ve lost and, hopefully, the insurance company will recover the costs of the damage to the building.
“However, the best way that the community could help us is to support our events at St Matthew’s.”
CCTV footage of the raid is now being examined by the police and Mr Oxtoby said: “They came for cash because they ignored other objects of value like projectors and laptops.
“All the cash we’d raised from serving food at our arts exhibition, our monthly coffee morning and our Sunday morning offertory was taken, as was an iphone which was linked up to our bell system.
“But other items like church records and artefacts are safe and secure.”
Mr Oxtoby revealed that Westmere Community Primary School, in Sutton Bridge, is planning a non-uniform day to raise money for the church and that St Matthew’s is to host a fundraising gospel concert as well.
He added: “I’d rather see people being involved in the life of the church than having money.”
Anyone with information should call 101, quoting incident number 120 of September 4.
• To make a donation to St Matthew’s Church, visit https://www.gofundme.com/st-matthews-church