Collection box smashed and cash stolen from village church

PUBLISHED: 12:08 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:27 11 October 2019

The collection box in St Mary's Church was broken open. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The collection box in St Mary's Church was broken open. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Opportunist thieves smashed a charity collection box and stole cash from a church in Steeple Bumpstead.

Two men were captured on CCTV breaking a collection box in St Mary's Church. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDTwo men were captured on CCTV breaking a collection box in St Mary's Church. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The incident occurred at about 12.40pm yesterday (Thursday) at St Mary's Church, with two men seen entering the church before breaking open a collection box and taking cash.

Rev Jonathan Lowe, who has been in the parish for six years, said: "A couple of chaps were seen entering the church, one looked around while the other broke open the collection box and took out the donations.

"We've had some kids go into the church and do some vandalism before, and in response to that we put in CCTV, but they were just children who were probably bored. It's a bit different when you have two full grown men going into churches in the middle of the day."

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We received information that two men entered the building at around 1.35pm and took a three-figure sum out of a cash box. "The first suspect has been described as having dark hair, aged in his mid to late 20s, around 5ft 11ins and was wearing a black cap, black trousers and a distinctive red and black sweatshirt.

"The second suspect has been described as having a dark beard or moustache, around 6ft 1ins and was aged between his mid and late 20s. He was wearing a black jacket, jeans and a light blue trousers."

Anyone with information is asked to call Braintree police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/161842/19 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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