Callous thieves targeted a Wimbledon church again last month, breaking through the locks added to the church’s collection box after a previous theft.
Charity funds were snatched from Christ the King Parish in Crescent Gardens in a heartless re-run of events, after the church decided to stand by its open-door policy despite a burglary in July.
Merton police officers are still investigating this latest theft, which took place on September 17, and no arrests have yet been made.
Christ the King Parish Secretary Joanne Jacobs said: “It is so sad. People who are not even connected to the church have come up to me and have been so concerned about it.”
Skaistis Juskelis, 20, of Padnall Court, Romford, was arrested and charged for the first theft, which took place on July 23
According to an FOI obtained by South West Londoner Merton has the lowest recorded rate of thefts from places of worship in any London borough with eight reported over the last year, making this concentration of crime even rarer.
There have been more than 500 reported theft and handling offences from places of worship across London boroughs in the 2014-2015 period.
Detective Constable Kieran Fenech from Richmond upon Thames CID, said: “This type of crime is a blight to our communities.”
In separate incidents, one repeat offender church burglar David Spencer was this month jailed for six years for thirteen incidents causing £13,000 of damage to places of worship, including actual and attempted burglaries in Richmond and Kingston.
Thefts this year from places of worship in south west London show that property such as pedal bikes and the contents of motor vehicles on the premises are also likely targets, as well as valuables within the buildings.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman explained that properly-maintained CCTV cameras can provide a deterrent to criminals and may assist in police investigations.
He said: “We would encourage churches, and any organisation which provides public access, to keep security and safety arrangements under regular review.”
The police also said that properly-maintained CCTV cameras can provide a deterrent to criminals and may assist in police investigations.
Picture courtesy of Ray Forster, with thanks