Tiles stolen from St John’s lych gate during Easter weekend

DESECRATED: The lych gate at St John's.
DESECRATED: The lych gate at St John's.
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Parishioners arrived at St John’s church in Upper Hopton, Mirfield, on Monday to find that dozens of tiles had been stolen from its lych gate.

The gate sits at the end of the path that leads up to the church.

Nearly all of the Yorkshire stone roof tiles from the side facing the church in Hopton Hall Lane were taken between 1.30pm on Easter Sunday and 2.45pm on Monday.

The gate dates from 1946, when it was built to commemorate the end of World War II.

The Rev Helen Butler from Mirfield Team Parish said: “It’s just another example of the free-for-all that’s going on.

“Because it’s a public amenity, because it’s a consecrated site, we want it to be open and accessible to those people who want to use it.

“It’s balancing that against those people who do not value the site and see it as an opportunity to go and strip the assets.”

The church has been targeted several times by thieves who have taken flagstones from its grounds and coping stones from the wall surrounding it.

The Rev Butler said she believed that the stones were being stolen to order.

“The thieves go to church sites because they know the security is low,” she said.

“The cost of replacing the tiles will be hundreds, not thousands, but it’s the principle.

“Like everybody, the church is under extreme financial pressure and every time we are assessed our insurance premiums go up.”