SUSSEX Police are appealing for witnesses following a theft from a Northchapel church.
The Midhurst and Petworth neighbourhood policing team was alerted on July 2, after the collection box was reported stolen from St Michael’s Church, Northchapel.
The Rev Peter Hayes is the new priest for Ebernoe, Lurgashall and Northchapel, and took up the post only months ago.
“A gentleman came to the door very early in the morning and asked to use the church to do some family research with his computer,” said Mr Hayes.
“He said he was going to look for graves of family members out in the graveyard and I left him to use the church for a little while.
“It was early - about 8am - and when I returned, he had disappeared, and so had the donation box.
“The small square wooden box was attached to the wall, and contains donations to the church.
“It had been prized off the wall, so he was serious about taking it.
“I have only been here a couple of months, and have no idea how much money was taken.
“I’m grateful nothing else was taken, but it’s a breach of trust.”
Mr Hayes, 60, was born in Perth, Western Australia.
He is a Bachelor of Divinity, gained in 1983.
If you have seen or heard anything related to the incident please contact Sussex Police via email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 101 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.