POLICE are urging churches to review their security measures after 20 pieces of valuable silver were stolen in raids on three churches in Warwickshire villages in under a week.
Eight items worth approximately £40,000 were taken from All Saints Church in Leamington Hastings near Rugby on the night of February 14. Thieves gained entry to the 12th century church with keys taken during a festival when the church had been open the previous day.
After entering the church, they used the keys to steal the contents of the safe, which included four chalices, two silver plates from 1663 with inscriptions to their benefactor, Thomas Trenner Miles, and a silver tankard from 1699 with an inscription for W Binks.
A local parishioner has offered a £1000 reward for the safe return of the historic silver. Anyone with information should contact DC Steve Cox on 01926 415793 quoting the crime reference N/09/2552.
There was another theft the day before at St Peter's Church in the nearby village of Dunchurch.
Then, on February 19, St Peter's Church in Kineton fell victim to thieves who broke into the locked vestry in the daytime when the church was open, forced the safe and took 12 pieces of silver donated to the church by families of the parish over the last 400 years.
The items stolen included a communion plate from 1735 with an inscription for Elizabeth Bentley, and a 17th century silver chalice and flagon inscribed for George Verney.
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Tim Comyns on 01926 415000 quoting incident 375.