Thieves strike during services at Wakefield churches St Austin’s and Trinity Methodist

A couple with a child 
masquerading as worshippers stole from city centre churches during mass.

Saturday, 11th May 2013, 12:00 pm

A woman’s bag was stolen during mass at St Austin’s Church, on Wentworth Terrace.

And another lady’s handbag was stolen from Trinity Methodist Church, on Norton Road, earlier the same day.

St Austin’s Deacon Nick Shields said: “Unfortunately it is not an unknown incident to happen at a city centre church as we have a lot of visitors and different people coming in to the building. A stranger is always welcome at our church and our problem is we are probably too trusting.

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“People in the congregation were shocked and other churches need to be careful.”

Personal documents and cash were stolen from the black Radley bag at St Austin’s at about 6.50pm on Sunday, April 28.

Earlier the same day at around 10.30am a bag containing cash, a bus pass and keys and a hymn book were taken from Trinity Methodist Church.

Church steward Rod Young said: “The man came in before the service had started and left quite quickly afterwards. The bag had been left at the back of the church.

“The lady steward was mortified as she knows it is wrong to leave a handbag about, but you don’t expect it to be stolen from a church.

“We are a church on a main road and often get different people come in. We are all quite devastated and urge other congregations to remain alert.”

The suspects were seen at St Austin’s with an eight-year-old girl. The first suspect was a short, stocky man, with cropped brown hair and he spoke with an Irish accent.

The second was a slim woman. She had blonde hair which was tied up and she was wearing baggy jeans.

Sgt Mark Beet from the Central neighbourhood police team said: “I would ask anyone who has information about this matter to get in touch with us to help us identify these suspects. We are working closely with the church and have been offering support and assistance.”

Anyone with any information should ring 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.