Vicar’s night-time vigil to catch church roof thieves

| June 26, 2011

A vicar and parishioners camped out in a church for nearly a week to catch thieves who were stripping tens of thousands of pounds of metal from its roof.

The operation ended in a chase with a police helicopter swooping as the alleged culprits tried to flee. A teenager was arrested but another escaped through the graveyard.

Barry Hobson, the vicar of 600-year-old St Andrew's Church in Hornchurch, Essex, organist Andrew Losq, 36, and parishioner Phil Jones took turns to bed down with sleeping bags on the floor by the altar.

For five nights nothing happened but at about 1am on Monday, Mr Hobson, 54, heard two people hauling themselves on to the roof and getting to work, virtually in silence. He said: "It was frustrating to start with; we just wanted something to happen but we knew they would turn up sooner or later." The vicar called 999 and police swooped, backed up by a helicopter equipped with infra-red cameras and the dog squad.

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Category: Church Security

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