Church memorial item is recovered

From left, PC Chris Turnbull, Rev Lorna Beadle and church warden Frances Routledge with the returned memorial miners coal.
From left, PC Chris Turnbull, Rev Lorna Beadle and church warden Frances Routledge with the returned memorial miners coal.

Police have returned an artefact stolen from a church in Ashington to its rightful place – thanks to help from the public.

Members of the community were devastated when one of the last pieces of coal to be taken from the Ashington mines was removed between noon on Sunday, April 24 and 10am on Monday, April 25.

A thief sneaked into Holy Sepulchre Church on Wansbeck Road and stole the memorial miners coal that was mounted on a display plinth.

Officers from Northumbria Police investigated the crime and appealed for help from the public.

This led to the stolen item being recovered and a 71-year-old man was subsequently given a police caution for theft by finding.

Ashington neighbourhood inspector Dave Harris said: “We are very pleased to be able to hand this local memorial item back to the church where it belongs.

“The church and parish were upset by its loss and I know they are delighted to have it brought back to them.”

Police have yet to identify the sneak-in thief who stole the coal and are still appealing for witnesses to identify this individual.

Rev Lorna Beadle, a member of the Ashington Parochial Church Council, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have the coal back and want to thank everyone involved for their efforts in having the item returned.”

Anyone who may have some information to help officers identify the thief is asked to call police on 101 – quote reference 295 27/04/16.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.