Whole graveyard pathway stolen by ‘lowlife’ thieves at historic church

A whole pathway of expensive stone slabs surrounding a historic Grade 1 listed church were stolen by lowlife thieves.

Stunned officials woke up on Friday morning to discover an entire walkway at the side of Sefton Parish Church had gone.

It is estimated about 45 slabs were pinched which has now prevented access to part of the graveyard for coffin bearers.

The theft at the 850-old church, in the picturesque Sefton Village, has been reported to police who are investigating.

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The York slabs were still in place at 6pm on Thursday, but at 7am the next day, a dog walker spotted they had gone.

It is suspected the theft took place overnight, with a vehicle needed, and perhaps more than one person needed, to shift the heavy stones.

The whole pathway stolen at historic Sefton Parish Church in Sefton Village

Reverend Debbie Statter said: "This year Sefton Parish Church: the Church of St Helen, celebrates 850 years of being a place of Christian worship: an oasis offering space to worship, to be still, to pray and to reflect.

"For centuries the church has celebrated baptisms, weddings and the lives of those who have passed away.

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"The church has been a constant in the midst of plagues, pandemics and wars.

"We are saddened by the theft of the church path especially as this now prohibits access to part of the graveyard for coffin bearers.

"We have been very moved by and grateful for the amount of support we have received from so many different people.

"We would be very grateful for the safe return of the stones."

The whole pathway stolen at historic Sefton Parish Church in Sefton Village

At the moment, the church is open for private prayer but is currently not running wider services of worship at the building.

Locals believe those responsible for stealing the pathway possibly accessed the churchyard via an adjacent car park, describing it as a "organised operation."

The churchyard is said to contain the war graves of sixteen service personnel, ten of World War I and six of World War II.

On social media, people reacted with disgust.

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One woman said: "Nothing sacred anymore, sad world we live in, selfish horrid people."

Another woman added: "Lowlife robbers, must have had a lorry, must have a customer for them, know they are very expensive to buy, hope they get caught."

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