Sleaford parish church targeted by thieves for a third time in recent weeks

Rev Philip Johnson of St Denys' Church, Sleaford. EMN-170316-093357001
Rev Philip Johnson of St Denys' Church, Sleaford. EMN-170316-093357001

The Vicar of Sleaford says he is ‘saddened’ after burglars took equipment worth £3,000 from St Denys’ Church on Monday.

The town’s parish church was targeted by thieves on Monday who got into a vestry and made off with electrical equipment often used for more modern services including a £2,500 keyboard in a black case.

Overall, Rev Philip Johnson estimates around £3,000 in equipment has been stolen including a TV and a conductor’s music stand, possibly during the day on Monday while the church was open to the public and discovered when they opened up for morning prayers on Tuesday.

He told The Standard: “We are reviewing security. It had gone some time between 9.15am and 4.30pm I believe and has been reported to the police who are in the process of investigating.”

He added: “in the last few weeks there has been a couple of other minor incidents. Someone took some bolt cutters to the padlock on the money box where people can light candles and other bits and pieces have gone missing, but this is more major.”

He said they felt saddened that people target a church because this could mean they have to lock teh church or restrict access if this continues.

He said: “The actions of one or two could affect many others.”

He said it does raise questions about the safety of some of the elderly women volunteers who help out at the church who could encounter thieves while making their escape.

Rev Johnson said: “I know we are not alone - not long ago the New Life Church was broken into and there have been other local businesses targeted. We will probably be able to claim on the insurance but that will affect our premiums. The local congregation funds everything we do in the church. Raising that money every year is a huge task and when something like this happens we are saddened as that is an extra bit of money you have to find and will slow down our other projects we want or need to do.”

This includes raising up to £300,000 (hopefully with Heritage Lottery Fund help) to re-model the main doors and refurbish the organ to serve the church’s civic role during the next five years.

Add to that another £100,000 for repairs to windows and stonework.

A Lincolnshire police spokesman said they are investigating and appealed for information about the incident. Call 101 quoting incident 106 of Tuesday, March 14.