Shock as church thief poses as worshipper
ASHAMELESS thief posed as a churchgoer before burgling the vestry during a Sunday service.
He went to St Paul’s Church on Brook Street, Macclesfield, and waited in the pews until the vicar had started the worship before sneaking off.
Shocked staff at the historic church discovered the burglary at the end of the service on March 5 and raised the alarm.
Police have now launched a manhunt for the burglar who is described as a man in his 30s or 40s, 5’7” tall and slim with black wavy, jawlength hair. He was wearing a black jacket and dark trousers.
Councillors have reacted with shock and anger to the crime.
Coun Philip Bolton, who represents Maccles- field East ward on Macclesfield Town Council, said: “I am filled with total shock and disgust that someone would even think of going into a church and stealing, let alone actually do it. It’s a stupid crime and completely unjustifiable.
“St Paul’s is a lovely, friendly church doesn’t deserve this.”
Coun Mick Warren, who represents Macclesfield East ward on Cheshire East Council, said the thief had ‘crossed the line’ in targeting a sacred place. He said: “It’s a cold and calculated crime. He clearly weighed up the sit- and uation and took his opportunity. People do desperate things sometimes. Although no one got hurt and this is just a few mobile phones, churches are sacred places and he has crossed the line.”
Coun Warren said the church had told him it was planning to increase its security. Police say the suspect was seen inside the church before the service at 11am before going outside.
He was spotted at the back of the church as the service started then disappeared. Police said there is no CCTV of the theft but are hoping members of the public saw the man outside. The mobile phones belonged to two men but it is not known if these were church staff or members of the congregation. The church declined to comment.
Sgt Rob Simpson said: “It is appalling that someone has targeted a place of worship to steal from.
“I would urge anyone who saw someone of this description hanging around the church to contact us. Also if you are offered a Samsung X7 or a Nexus 5 in unusual circumstances please contact police on 101 quoting incident number 428 of March 5.
The theft at St Paul’s Church in Macclesfield has disgusted Coun Philip Bolton (right)
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