'Thieving couple steal cash' from village church donation box on CCTV

'Thieving couple steal cash' from village church donation box on CCTV

EXCLUSIVE Watch as ‘thieving couple steal cash’ from village church donation box – as police refuse to launch probe after telling warden they were ‘too busy’ to pursue it

  • A churchwarden claims he has obtained CCTV proof of donation box thieves 
  • John Glasspool, 67, rigged up CCTV as police were ‘too busy to pursue’
  • He claims despite his evidence police say it is purely ‘circumstantial’  

A parish churchwarden who caught this middle-aged ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ pair on CCTV apparently dipping into a donation box in a sleepy village church said police told him they were ‘too busy’ to pursue it.

And when he handed officers the registration number of the crook’s car, parked outside the church, he was told it was only ‘circumstantial evidence’.

Churchwarden John Glasspool, 67, told MailOnline that he and other church organisers had suspected a series of thefts last year from the donation box at St Andrew’s, Timsbury, Hampshire, where a church has stood since around 1400.

Retired doctor Mr Glasspool said he improved the CCTV coverage of the slit in the wall-safe donation box and ‘baited’ it with a £5 note inside.

Churchwarden John Glasspool, 67, is convinced he has the mystery couple bang to rights 

CCTV caught what he claimed was the couple’s car leaving the church 

In September, the warden was astonished to play back the footage revealing the man wearing a gilet and a flat cap, accompanied by a woman who appeared to be his spouse.

After a quick check for witnesses, the alleged thief got to work, first using a torch to see inside the slit, revealing the £5 note.

Then, using a piece of wire, with the torch gripped between his teeth, the elderly villain managed to gently edge the money out through the opening, while his ‘moll’ looked around the Grade II listed church.

As soon as he’d managed to make his illicit withdrawal, he handed the money to his female accomplice and the pair left.

‘We were pretty pleased,’ said Mr Glasspool, ‘We don’t want to keep the church locked because people like to drop in, and it’s a historic building, so catching the thief red-handed was a good result, or so we thought.

‘The first officer who arrived when we called was very upbeat and impressed with how good the images were, but then I got a call from a detective who was less optimistic.

‘I was told that the CPS would take no action as there was no full-on view of his face and the car was “circumstantial”, as he could claim he parked there to go for a walk!

A man can be seen approaching the donation box on the wall and looking at the contents 

While he rummages around inside a woman can be seen who appears to be with him

The pair can then be seen looking through the contents of the donation box together 

Before quietly slipping out of the church door and out of sight of the hidden CCTV

A couple of days before Christmas, the same pair returned, hoping perhaps for a bumper yuletide haul, but this time the box was empty.

Mr Glasspool added: ‘I reported them for attempted theft, and the police got in touch and said they’d look into it but ‘I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

‘I heard nothing, so I raised an official complaint. A perfectly nice chap phoned me and said, with charming honesty, that the police were too busy to deal with thefts of small sums of money, even from a church.

‘I suggested he’s probably doing the same thing at other churches in the area and they said they’d be interested if I could prove that – I thought that was their job!

‘All the police officers I’ve dealt with have been polite, and I can see where they’re coming from but I do have to wonder if they would have the same attitude if it were theft from another faith.’

In his complaint to Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones, Mr Glasspool churchwarden for 30 years, wrote: ‘I and the members of the Parochial Church Council are aware that these episodes don’t constitute a major crime, but…it means that since we have been told that our CCTV is, in effect, useless, we shall have to leave the church locked for the foreseeable future, which means the public will no longer be able to enjoy it for both spiritual and secular purposes.

‘It is reasonable to assume that the thief has been visiting other churches. I’ve cascaded the information to the Diocese, but one imagines nothing will be done if his car is seen again outside other churches.

‘I was advised to “dial 999” if he re-appears. Please forgive my cynicism, but I doubt that will receive a response within the 5 minutes that he takes to carry out the theft.

Hampshire Police was approached for comment.

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