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Halstead: Rector speaks out after burglars target church
Callous burglars who plundered irreplaceable historical artefacts from a church are still at large.
Rector Michael Hewitt described how his heart sank as he saw the doors to St Laurence Church in Church Lane, Ridgewell, were ajar and discovered a 16th century chalice, worth £4,000, had been stolen.
The thieves also stole a solid silver communion set dating from 1901, an oak table and various candlesticks.
They had tried to steal a safe made from gunmetal dating back to the Battle of Waterloo, but left it nearby after stealing the contents.
Luckily parish records dating back to 1800, including the burial book, which were kept in the safe were found scattered outside before they were damaged by rain.
Mr Hewitt said: “The most distressing loss is the loss of the 16th century Elizabethan chalice from which countless Ridgewellians have drank from for many centuries."
Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt Peter Page at Braintree Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
See this week's Gazette for the full story.