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Holy Trinity Church, Skipton, hit by second burglary
A Skipton church is counting the cost again after being broken into for the second time in a month.
Thieves first broke into Holy Trinity Church at the top of the High Street ten days before Christmas.
They smashed an historic, valuable stained glass window to gain entry and broke off a section of the carved wood reredos screen behind the altar to steal just £5 in cash from the collection box.
It is believed that the same thieves returned overnight last Wednesday to empty the collection box for a second time.
The collection box, only just repaired after the first time, was emptied of, it is believed, anything up to £100.
Church officials have now taken the step of emptying the box every night and putting a sign on it - in the same way van drivers announce no valuables stored overnight - informing any would-be thieves checking the church out during the day.
Churchwarden Jill Wright said the latest break-in was through a side window that, although hundreds of years old, was not stained glass.
This time, the thieves put an iron bar through a floodlight before breaking the window with a top stone from the nearby wall.
Once inside, they emptied the collection box, along with a nearby donation box for people lighting candles to departed loved ones.
“We are emptying the box now every night and have put a sign on it, but there’s not much else we can do,” said Mrs Wright.
Although the actual amount of cash taken has been low, the cost of repairing the windows and the reredos could run into thousands of pounds And while the church is insured against such damage, there will be £500 excess to find and the prospect of higher insurance premiums.
“People are horrified that this can be done to a church, they are really cross, and not just church people, but the townspeople who are saying to us, how could people do this to a church,” she said.
The church is currently waiting to find out how much it will cost to repair the original damage to the stained glass window and the reredos screen, both of which will require specialist care, as the church is a grade one listed building.
And now, it has the additional cost of the latest break-in.
“We believe, and so do the police, that the same people are responsible for both break-ins and we would appeal to anyone who may have heard them bragging about it to get in touch,” said Mrs Wright.
Anyone with information can telephone Skipton Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.