Mystery men return stolen cross after church break-in at Nanpantan
Thieves smashed their way into a church and stole items including an altar cross – which was returned nine days later by two mystery men.
A set of candlestick holders, a vacuum cleaner and nine bottles of sherry and port were also taken in the raid at St Mary in Charnwood, in Nanpantan, near Loughborough.
Cupboards and drawers in the chapter house, a building at the side of the church, were rifled. But no money is kept in the church. Staff, who are in the middle of an extensive refurbishment programme at the place of worship, were left upset by the break-in.
Canon Sue Field, team vicar at Emmanuel and St Mary in Charnwood, said: "Refurbishment work has been going on at the church since September.
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"The break-in has damaged two windows, one of them leaded and a new door.
"It also damaged the frame and plaster work on the inside which has set back painting."
A baptism and communion had to be cancelled while the damage was cleared up.
Earlier this week, two men – who did not leave their names – went into the church and handed back the cross and candlestick holders. They told church staff the items had been brought into their shop and they wanted to return them.
It is unclear how the men knew where the items were from as it is understood there were no markings linking the items to the church.
The brass cross is marked "to the glory of God and in loving memory of our dear parents Joseph Geary and Rachel Cotton, Whit Sunday, 1923".
Sergeant Martin Owen, of Loughborough police, said: "We are pleased these items have been returned because of their religious significance.
"However, we still want to trace these two people and see if they can assist us with our inquiries. We hope they might get in touch so they can assist us with our inquiries."
The break-in took place between 7.30pm on Saturday, December 8 and 8.15am the following day. Anyone with information is asked to contact Leicestershire police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.