Watch CCTV of thieves smashing their way into Ipswich church’s collection box

The thieves were captured on the church's CCTV system Picture: ST MARY'S AT THE ELM CHURCH

The thieves were captured on the church's CCTV system Picture: ST MARY'S AT THE ELM CHURCH - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich church has released CCTV footage of thieves smashing into and stealing its collection box - causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

The thieves took half an hour, between 2pm and 2.30pm, to remove the box from St Mary’s at the Elm Church, in Elm Street, on Saturday August 25.

Churchwarden Hugh Pierce says there would have been less than £10 in the box at the time of the theft.

Although the amount of cash stolen was minimal, the damage caused by the thefts was substantial.

In hacking away at the brickwork to free the box, damage was done to plastering on the connecting walls, something Mr Pierce says could cost hundreds to fix.

Churchwarden Hugh Pierce Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Churchwarden Hugh Pierce Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant


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Today, the church has released short clip from the CCTV footage in the hope someone will recognise the thieves and report them to police.

Mr Pierce said: “We never have more than £10 in there because it is emptied regularly.

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“On Saturday it took them half an hour of constantly picking at it to remove it.

“One would have a go while the other would go outside to make sure no one was coming.

Churchwarden Hugh Pierce outside St Mary at the Elms in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Churchwarden Hugh Pierce outside St Mary at the Elms in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

“All of that for less than £10.

“The box itself will cost a couple of hundred pounds to replace.

“Then there is the brick work and plaster work that needs repairing.”

Mr Pierce said the thieves’ banging had cracked plaster work around the doorway, meaning the church’s historic wooden front door no longer closes.

Damage left by the thieves Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Damage left by the thieves Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

“This door, which is 800-years-old, wont shut now because the plaster is bulging out, he said.

“The door frame plaster is going to need replacing.

“Because of the amount of banging there are cracks all up the wall.

“It is surprising they were in here for 30 minutes and nobody else came in.

“On any other day if you are in here for an hour you will see at least ten people come in for prayer or quiet contemplation.

It is just so very sad.

“To me it shows a real lack of respect for other people’s property.”

Mr Pierce said the church committee would discuss whether it can continue remaining open to the public in light of the recent incident.

If you recognise the people in the CCTV footage or know anything that could assist officers in their investigation, call Suffolk Police on 101 or Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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