Vow to keep churches open all day

SUFFOLK'S senior bishop today told of his determination for the county's churches to remain open during the day.His reassuring words came despite a "disturbing" spate of thefts and vandalism possibly linked to drugs.

SUFFOLK'S senior bishop today told of his determination for the county's churches to remain open during the day.

His reassuring words came despite a "disturbing" spate of thefts and vandalism possibly linked to drugs.

At least nine churches in Suffolk have been targeted in recent months, with some vandalised while others have seen small amounts of cash and valuables taken.

But, the Right Reverend Richard Lewis, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said they would not be swayed from their open door policy despite the attacks – which have been linked to people funding drugs habits.


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He said: "The recent spate of burglaries is disturbing. Many people work hard to maintain churches and keep them open for everyone. Damage and vandalism is very frustrating to all those who work to maintain the church building as a place of quiet and prayer.

"As a diocese we will continue to encourage all parochial church councils to keep churches open.'

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Nick Clarke, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich diocesan communications director, said thefts from churches were distressing and frustrating.

He said the cost of repairing the damage is usually greater than the amount the thieves get away with.

But Mr Clarke said: "A locked door is more of a come-on to a thief than an open one. Our advice is to lock away valuables in a safe and to empty collection boxes regularly.

"Keeping churches open is part of the Church's work in the community, by offering quiet spaces they play an important part of their mission to Suffolk.''

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