Churches in St Helens have been targeted by thieves 70 times over the past two years, new figures reveal.
The statistics - obtained by the St Helens Reporter - paint a disturbing picture of criminals operating in the borough.
The first visit we think was about 4pm so it would have been in broad daylight. And we returned the following morning to find even more had been leftRev Mark Taylor
In 2013, there were 43 attacks on churches, with that number dropping to 27 in 2014.
Metal theft, including copper piping and lead from roofs, was the most common type of theft during the two-year period.
However, there were also computers and tools taken, and even two instances of charity boxes being stolen.
The reasons for the sudden reduction in crime at church buildings remains unclear, although greater focus by police patrols and better church security could be behind the fall.
A police spokesman said the number of incidents shows that while crime recorded in St Helens involving churches were not of a high volume they were “not uncommon”.
However, the force declined to give examples of churches which had been targeted claiming releasing the information would increase the likelihood of a repeat attack.
Thefts aren’t the only type of crime plaguing churches in St Helens.
Earlier this year, callous flytippers dumped waste at a graveyard twice in 24 hours.
Unsightly mounds of industrial waste were dumped at St Nicholas’ - known as Sutton Parish Church - on New Street earlier this week.
Having deemed the graveyard to be a suitable spot for their rubbish, the offenders returned during the night to deposit more rubbish.
Rev Mark Taylor said: “The first visit we think was about 4pm so it would have been in broad daylight. And we returned the following morning to find even more had been left.”
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