Crooks leave trail of damage after breaking into Boxmoor church and swiping charity donations

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Callous burglars showed no mercy to a Hemel Hempstead church as they swiped £180 in donations and left a trail of destruction in their wake.

Police believe thieves who forced their way in to Boxmoor’s St John’s Church made more than one attempt to break in to the Station Road landmark, causing damage to fire doors and windows.

They then made an “untidy” search of the vestry area.

Churchwarden Trevor Boyce said: “It is an inconvenience caused to what is a very much cared-for and important community building. It is a pity facilities of this kind are not thought of with more care and respect.”

Mr Boyce estimates the value of donated cash stolen would no more than £180, but that it is nothing compared to the cost of the repairs needed.

He added: “The main thing is that this caused a lot of damage for very minimal gain. We have had to provide temporary security and boarding for the windows before they are replaced, which is also very costly because they are custom-made for the church.

“We will be taking out preventative measures to stop this kind of act happening again. Services have continued as normal and we are not daunted.”

Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen or heard anything at the time of the break-in – between 9.45pm on Thursday , May 30 and 7.40am the next morning – to get in touch.

PC Paul Purvis, investigating, said: “It is likely that it took some time for the offenders to break into the property and in doing so probably created quite a lot of noise.

“I believe someone must have seen or heard something during the night. I would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this crime to contact me as soon as possible.”

Call PC Purvis on the non-emergency number 101 using the crime reference D1/13/3026.