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Stolen church silver returned for Christmas

STOLEN historic silverware used for Holy Communion has been restored to a Church just in time for Christmas.

A safe containing the silver was snatched from St Mary's Church, Hailsham, in September. It was later found near Phoenix Close after it was set on fire.

The Vicar, Rev David Bourne, said: 'The silver was recovered but it suffered fairly serious fire damage. After the incident, it was sent off to be restored.

'I think it is a great encouragement to have the silver restored.

'It has been in continuous use since the 18th century for Christians who meet together for the Lord's Supper.'

The silverware was returned to the Church on Christmas Eve, in time for Holy Communion at 8am on Christmas Day.

The restored sacred goods were two 18th century chalices, two plates and a flagon.

Burglars originally got to the silver by removing two window slats at St Mary's. They broke into the main entrance and got through two internal doors.

Two safes in the vestry were targeted by the thieves. At the time, police believed a wheely bin was used to remove one safe from the Church.

When the safe was discovered, other objects inside were smoke damaged. Two marriage registry books were burnt and 8 in cash missing.

The Church also changed its locks after keys were discovered missing.

Chief Inspector Neil Honnor, Wealden District Commander, said: 'I am pleased that the property was recovered and it was able to be restored.

'It is frustrating when criminals target any property but particularly when it is such an important community building like a Church.'

 
 
 

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