Ipswich church St Mary-le-Tower a victim of theft – as Rev Tom Mumford remains committed to its mission
A vicar in Ipswich is devastated after his church fell victim to theft – but has said it won’t change its mission to the community.
Between midday and 4pm on Monday, two people broke into St Mary-le-Tower, tampered with the donation box and stole vital money from inside.
The alleged culprits were caught on CCTV and police spent much of Tuesday at the scene investigating.
Reverend Tom Mumford, the vicar of St Mary-le-Tower, said he was deeply upset by the situation as the church relies on donations for upkeep, to continue its mission and to support the community.
It was ‘particularly painful’ during a time of severe financial challenges and rising costs, he noted.
Rev Tom said: “Such donations are vital in times like this.
“As well as this, our core mission is to be an open and welcoming church and this lies behind our commitment to being open seven days a week as a place of sanctuary, hospitality and prayer in the heart of our town.
“Needless to say, I am determined this will remain the case and that our instinct of generosity, and the gift of this church that so many enjoy and need, will not be prevented by the acts of a few.”
Rev Tom said the church has had to review its procedures in light of the incident.
As the funds were taken from a donation box, Rev Tom said it was unknown how much cash was taken.
During the church’s opening hours, a ‘more intentional’ staff presence will be felt, which will be scheduled and monitored.
Secondly, the donations box will be emptied twice per day, and the old donations box will be reviewed and possibly replaced.
Rev Tom encouraged his congregation to pray for those responsible.
He added: “I don’t know what circumstances they are facing, whether it be poverty, addiction or otherwise.
“Of course, none of this justifies theft, but they are, like us, children of God. Pray they may turn to him, know his presence, seek his forgiveness and feel his love.”
A spokesman for Suffolk Police said that should anyone have any information on the theft, they should get in touch with the Crime Coordination Centre on 101, quoting incident reference: 66260/23.