Church loses 50 years of records after two burglaries in a week

Churchwarden Rebekah Jeffery-Cooper beside the organ where the pipes were stolen from at St Leonard's church in Misterton.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Churchwarden Rebekah Jeffery-Cooper beside the organ where the pipes were stolen from at St Leonard's church in Misterton. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A village church in the Harborough district has lost thousands of pounds and decades of baptisms and marriage records after being burgled twice in the space of a week.

The first time thieves took copper from the roof, and dragged off the church’s “washing machine sized” safe containing the church silver plate and extensive church records.

Churchwarden Rebekah Jeffery-Cooper with a broken window at St Leonard's church in Misterton.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Churchwarden Rebekah Jeffery-Cooper with a broken window at St Leonard's church in Misterton. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

That was on the night of Good Friday, April 14 / Saturday April 15. And the following Friday, April 21 / Saturday April 22, the thieves were back at the church again.

This time they took all the church’s organ pipes and electrical equipment from inside the building, including a microphone and speakers.

Both thefts were at the grade II listed St Leonard’s, the parish church for Misterton with Walcote. The church is in Misterton, a hamlet off the A4304 between Lutterworth and Market Harborough.

“It’s quite heartbreaking” said church warden Rebekah Jeffery-Cooper.

“Our church is secluded down a single track lane, but it’s regularly visited and always locked at night.

“Because there was no sign of a break-in on either occasion, we think at least one burglar was hidden inside the church when it was locked up.”

The church is particularly keen to have its irreplaceable church record books returned, containing baptisms and marriage records dating back to the 1960s - including church warden Rebekah’s own marriage.

The April 14 burglary happened between 7pm on Friday, when the church was locked and 9.30am on Saturday. The April 21 burglary was between 4.30pm on Friday and 10.15am on Saturday.

Anyone with any information about the two thefts should contact the police.

Anyone wishing to donate money to the unlucky church can post cheques, payable to Misterton PCC, to St Leonards c/0 Rebekah Jeffery -Cooper 64 Orchard Road, Lutterworth, LE17 4DA.