THIEVES have struck at a historic church in a village on the outskirts of Leeds.
Oak gates worth nearly £2,000 were stolen from All Saints’ Church in Barwick in Elmet earlier this week.
The theft took place just two months after it was put in place at the church, which dates back to the 12th century.
And today church warden Colin Bond appealed for the return of the gates, which were paid for through a mixture of fundraising and a bequest from a parishioner.
Mr Bond told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We’re very upset about this and would obviously like them back, although how likely that is, I’m not sure.
“When I’ve been walking through the village, lots of people have been coming up to me saying how sorry they are that [the gates] have gone.
“It’s such a shame, given how much effort when into getting it here in the first instance.”
The gate was installed in May, replacing one that had been at the church since the 1960s and had started showing distinct signs of wear and tear.
“We will claim on our insurance, of course,” said Mr Bond.
“That will cost us money, though, as we’ll be paying an excess.
“The metalwork on the new gate was taken from the old one, so we’d need to have that made from scratch. We’ve been told that will add another £200 to the cost, which is obviously far from ideal.”
The gates were a much-appreciated addition to a site that was already one of the prettiest spots in the village.
Lovingly tended by a group of volunteers, the churchyard at All Saints’ scooped a prestigious gold award in last year’s Britain in Bloom competition.
Police are investigating the theft of the gate, which is believed to have taken place some time between 6.30pm on Tuesday and 8am on Wednesday.
Anyone with information about its whereabouts is asked to contact Mr Bond on 0113 281 3531.