A church in Ipswich has fallen victim to theft, as "vital funds" the church relies on were stolen.

St Mary Le Tower in Ipswich town centre had its donations box tampered with and money from inside removed.

The church relies on donations for its mission and ministry, music, and upkeep of the building.

Reverend Tom Mumford said: "At a time of severe financial challenge and increasing cost, such donations are vital.

"Part of our core mission is to be an open and welcoming church, and this lies behind our commitment to being open seven days a week as a place of hospitality, sanctuary, and prayer in the heart of our town.

Ipswich Star: Reverend Tom MumfordReverend Tom Mumford (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"Needless to say, I am determined that this will remain the case and that our instinct of generosity, and the gift of this church that so many enjoy, indeed need, will not be prevented by the acts of a few.

"I would like to thank the police for their swiftness in acting, and their professionalism in their response."

The church will now introduce procedures to help stop something of this nature from happening in the future.

There will be more staff presence in the church during opening hours and the donations box will be emptied twice a day so donations are not left in the box for longer than a few hours.

Ipswich Star: St Mary Le Tower in IpswichSt Mary Le Tower in Ipswich (Image: Google Maps)

They are also going to review the suitability of the current box now that it has been damaged, with donations welcomed online while this process is undertaken.

Reverend Mumford continued: "I would ask that you pray for those that felt it necessary to steal from the church.

"I don't know what circumstances of need they are facing.

"Whether it be poverty, addiction or otherwise.

"Of course, none of this justifies theft, but they are children of God."

Those who may have seen something or know anything about the theft, are encouraged to contact Suffolk Constabulary quoting the reference number SC-14112023-41.