CALLOUS thieves stole 40 flagstones from the church grounds of St Oswald’s Church in Winwick, where members have been tirelessly fundraising to restore the church to its former glory.

Thieves disconnected the floodlights before digging up the flags but were disturbed by a resident who was out walking their dog on March 1 at 8.30pm.
A white van was later seen driving away from the scene.

Rector Canon June Steventon said: “It really is disheartening. The community are pulling together to restore this wonderful building.

“It will take considerable time, money and effort to see this project to its completion. We estimate that we will need to raise a further £100,000 in addition to the English Heritage funding.

“We are working so hard to keep the roof above our heads and the flags are stolen from under our feet.”

For the past three years, the church community have been raising money to restore the grade one listed building following infestation by death watch beetles.

The first phase has already been completed, costing £419,000, with second phase expected to start later this month after the clergy secured an English Heritage grant of £248,000.

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