Worshippers’ shock at Barkingside church theft

| June 24, 2010

A MAN who posed as a parishioner during mass is suspected of stealing hundreds of pounds from a church's collection.

Bags filled with coins, notes and cheques were taken from St Augustine's Catholic Church, Cranbrook Road, Barkingside.

The money, believed to be between £300 and £400, was lying next to the altar after being collected during morning mass.

As priest Fr Paul Bruxby said his goodbyes to parishioners while they filed out of the building, the bags were stolen.

It is thought the thief fled through a back exit.

Fr Bruxby only realised the bags had been snatched when he went to collect them on his way back to the presbytery.

Eddie O'Connor, who sits on the committee of the church club, which is attached to the parish hall, said: "Some people have said they saw a man standing at the altar, but they thought he was there on behalf of the priest.

"He wasn't someone they'd seen before. People are totally shocked.

"It's just not something you expect to happen in a church. This is a cut above, or should I say a cut below.

"I've heard of women's handbags being taken from the pews, but never a collection being stolen, it's totally shocking."

He added: "It's worrying for people who put cheques in the collection, because whoever has taken it will now have their bank details, which is a security concern."

The money, taken on June 12, was to go to the Diocese of Brentwood, which spends the cash on general church costs.

An appeal put in Sunday's church newsletter asks for witnesses who saw anyone acting suspiciously to come forward.



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Category: Church Security

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