Church broken into hours after funeral

A thief broke a stained-glass window and “ran riot” in a Burnley church just hours after the funeral of a popular parish priest.
St Stephen's ChurchSt Stephen's Church
St Stephen's Church

Police are now analysing CCTV images as part of an investigation into the incident.

More than 400 mourners had attended the funeral of the Rev. Lawrence Laycock at St Stephen’s CE Church in Oxford Road last Wednesday.

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But just hours later a man broke in and stole a recently-donated 32-inch TV, around £50 from the collection plate, four bottles of communion wine and a Children’s Society charity box.

Deputy churchwarden at St Stephen’s, Mr Keith Pounder, believes the theft was financially motivated – not driven by religious hatred.

“We came to the assumption that it was about money,” he said.

“None of the vestments were stolen, nor the receptacles for holy communion.

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“Fortunately, all the money that was collected at the funeral – which I believe was over £1,000 – had already been taken to the funeral director’s.

Mr Pounder was “devastated” when he learned of the break-in, but vowed that all at the church will keep the faith.

“The thing which is most distressing is when you walk through the church and you think that this person was running riot,” he said.

“Fortunately, thanks to all the people who have tirelessly worked over the past few days, we are back to normal now.

“We are trying to put it behind us because otherwise it might linger.”