Third bag snatched in church

A CHURCH handbag thief is believed to have struck again after a woman’s bag was stolen in Cleckheaton.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she was ‘hysterical’ after the theft from St John’s Church last Thursday morning.

She said the man, thought to be the same man that stole two handbags and a games console from churches last month, was sitting in a pew, and appeared to be crying.

She said: “I noticed he was wiping his eyes with his fingers. I said, ‘are you ok? and sat next to him. He asked me what was going on that day and I said it was cleaning day.

“I went back down the aisle and noticed he had gone from the pew. Then I saw him walking down the aisle very quickly, hunched over. I thought, ‘he’s taken something’.”

She chased him but as she reached the church gates he had disappeared. She then went back into church and realised he had taken her handbag.

“I went hysterical. My cards were in there, my house keys, my mobile phone and pictures of my grandson. I can’t believe he has come in and spoken to me, and then stolen my bag.” she said.

“I then had to go to the Yorkshire Building Society to cancel my cards. The staff there were brilliant. They sat me down with a cup of tea and phoned my daughter. I’d like to thank them and church members for their help.”

Spen NPT Insp Tim Holland said: “This is an unusual type of offence but it is not the first time it’s happened. People should remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to us on 0845 6060606.”