Portchester church sees kitchen knives stolen as it suffers sixth break-in within seven months

JUST one month after suffering a break-in, a church in Portchester has once again found itself targeted by thieves, who have caused hundreds of pounds of damage.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 6:00 am

Staff at Portchester Methodist Church, in Castle Street, discovered the latest break-in on Monday April 6, finding the office kitchen ransacked and two doors smashed.

It comes after the church had its garage doors ripped off in October in a suspected break-in, followed by a suspected theft of £300, which had been raised for Rowans Hospice, during a concert on Saturday, December 1.

The latest break in marks the third time the church has been targeted this year – with a break-in in January that saw nothing taken, a burglary in February when the culprit made off with £70 of takings from the church’s community cafe, and a burglary last month that saw £50 in room hire fees stolen.

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Portchester Methodist Church, in Castle Street, Fareham.

But the most recent crime was was ‘quite a nasty one,’ according to Lucy Cook, the church’s community outreach co-ordinator.

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She said: ‘There was a lot more damage than what we have had in the past.

‘The whole kitchen was trashed.

Two doors were smashed in burglary, which saw several sharp kitchen knives being taken. Picture: Lucy Cook

‘We are looking at hundreds of pounds worth of damage, and we can’t fundraise easily at the moment because of the lockdown.’

The damage includes 10 cupboard doors broken as they were forced open, and glass in two external doors smashed, suspected as a means of entry into the building.

Lucy added: ‘The kitchen was brand new in October – we are waiting to see if the supplier will replace the cupboard doors.

‘It’s really upsetting.’

The latest break-in could cost the church hundreds of pounds. Picture: Lucy Cook.

The church’s first aid kit was raided – and several sharp kitchen knives are missing.

Lucy said: ‘We are talking about very sharp knives.

‘It is very worrying.’

The church had several doors boarded up following the March break-in - but staff thought it would be impossible for burglars to gain entry during the most recent incident.

Lucy: ‘We didn’t think it would be possible for them to force entry through the door they smashed.

‘We have boarded up more doors now.

‘We are looking at installing CCTV, but there are so many ways in to the building, it would cost a lot to cover all the angles.

‘We have done all that we can.’

Police emailed the church staff member to say they would not be investigating the crime due to there being no further lines of enquiry.

The email continued: ‘All crimes reported will be shared with your local Neighbourhood Policing Team so they are aware of the crime happening in your area.’

Anyone with information can call 101 and give the reference number 20200406-0177.

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