Ipswich: Anger as thieves continue to steal from St Pancras Church

ENOUGH is enough.

That was the message from Ipswich priest Father Francis Leeder as thieves targeted St Pancras Church yet again.

Father Leeder spoke of his dismay and heartache after thieves stole five Rosary Beads and cash from the church in Orwell Place on New Year’s Day.

He claimed this theft follows a number of incidents over the last few months, with various items being taken from the church, including countless votive candles, Christmas cards and cash.

Until now, Fr Leeder has refused to report the crimes to police, hoping the offenders would eventually stop and think about their actions.

However he has now said the latest incident drove him to contact the police, declaring “enough is enough”.

Among the items taken have been several votive candles, which members of the congregation light and leave for loved ones.

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Fr Leeder said: “I’m sure the thieves must be using them for warmth and so they can read but we have had to make sure that we don’t have many out any more to try and prevent it. It has been going on for some time.

“More recently, in November, we also had someone come into the church and climb up to grab a crucifix and break it. It snapped in two.

“There have also been occasions when someone – it might be the same offender each time or it may not be – has stolen items from our FIND (Families in Need) box.

“But things seem to be escalating because this month someone has also stolen Christmas cards that members of the congregation leave for one another, and five Rosary Beads from a cabinet.

“Enough is enough. It was at this point that I thought it necessary to contact the police.

“We need to stop this because it just can’t keep happening. I’m sure the culprits will have some kind of sob story.”

Police believe the prayer beads were stolen from the church at some point between 8am and 5pm on New Year’s Day.

Anyone with information about the latest incident or anyone who saw any unusual activity in or around the church is asked to contact Suffolk police on 101 with the reference IC/13/40.