Sussex Police are appealing for information about the theft of high-value silverware from the chapel at the University of Sussex campus at Falmer.
Missing items include silver chalices, two of which were designed by noted sculptor Hans Coper, and other religious artefacts.
Around a dozen pieces have been stolen and it is thought their combined value is in the region of £100,000, said police.
Officers said the thief struck between 1.50pm and 2.20pm on Friday December 7, forcing locked doors and containers in the two-storey circular Meeting House which houses the sacristy and stands next to the university’s Falmer House.
He is believed to have carried off the items in a black rucksack, making off on foot towards the university’s Pevensey block, said police.
It is possible he then boarded a bus or got into another vehicle.
Police describe the suspect as a man in his 30s, of mixed race, 6’ tall and of medium build, bald and with facial stubble. He was wearing a blue Puffa jacket over a grey hooded top, grey tracksuit bottoms and Nike air trainers.
Police have alerted dealers to be aware of the theft and to report any suspicions if they are offered church silverware for sale.
Anyone with information about the burglary, the suspect or the missing property is asked to email Sussex Police on firstname.lastname@example.org to phone 101, quoting serial 806 of 10/12.
Alternatively, please contact Crimestoppers at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or call the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.