PARISHIONERS have welcomed the safe return of an irreplaceable altar cloth.
Burglars sneaked into ancient St Thomas a Becket Church, in Warblington on Monday and stole the 14ftx7ft handmade green altar cloth and tore a hymn book.
It happened between 10.15am and 3.30pm, while the church was open to the public for quiet prayer and reﬂection.
Police launched an appeal and days later it was handed back into police undamaged.
On Wednesday, it was given back to the church by police. No arrests have been made.
Church warden Christopher Morrison said: ‘The police recovered if but I’m not sure how.
‘It was virtually undamaged, just a bit creased.’
A spokesman for the Church of England said: ‘The parishioners will be delighted that something that was irreplaceable has been returned.
‘It was handmade by a parishioner and it’s difficult to imagine it could have been made the same way again.’
Call police on 101 with information.