A thief has been condemned for breaking into a collection box which was embedded in a church wall in a South Yorkshire village.
The crook struck at Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, Rotherham, using tools to dig into the stone wall to reach the metal safe buried inside.
Warden Jim Gelder said he was ‘disgusted’ that somebody would steal from a place of worship.
It was targeted on Sunday, July 6.
“We keep the church open because anything of value is locked away, so it is disappointing that this has happened but we will still keep the church open during the day,” he said.
“We get people visiting from all over the world because when they visit the big house they pop in here too for a look around, so it is a shame this happened.
“I am just glad that there wasn’t anything in the offertory box because it had been emptied a couple of days before.
“There must have been two of them involved in this - somebody stopping people at the door, maybe saying there was building work going on inside to explain the sound of the banging there must have been as the other dug their way into the wall.”
Later in the day a lock was broken on a garage door in Cortworth Lane, Wentworth, and gardening equipment was stolen.
South Yorkshire Police are urging local residents to step up their security over the summer.
Acting Sergeant Clare Learad said: “We know that some of our residents will be going away on holiday this summer. If you are going away, inform a neighbour and ask them to help with mail collection and placing rubbish bins out at the usual collection times to make it look as though you’re at home.
“Make sure your tools and ladders are kept in a secure place, remembering to lock all doors and windows. If you have a security system, remember to activate it if you’re going on holiday.
“Above all, we’d urge residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.”