Police are investigating following a spate of thefts from churches in Knaresborough, Harrogate and the surrounding areas.
Several pieces of Mouseman furniture have been stolen by thieves between October and December this year.
The first incident occurred between 16 October and 28 October 2011 when an octagonal oak table was taken from All Saints Church on Main Street, Kirby Overblow.
The table, which is valued at £600, has a Mousey Thompson signature carving of a mouse on it and the following inscription is carved into the top surface: ‘The oak chest and this table were acquired through a legacy to this church from Walter Skelton Hudson of Low Hall.’
The second theft occurred on Wednesday 9 November 2011 at The Church of Immaculate Conception, on Main Street, Sicklinghall. Thieves took a wooden table from the rear of the church sometime between 12pm and 5.30pm.
The table, which is valued between £2,500 and £3,000, has the Mousey Thompson signature mouse carved prominently onto one of the legs and there is also a brass plaque set into the side face.
Thieves struck again between 20 November and 26 November 2011 at Burnsall and Appletreewick Parochial Church, in Appletreewick.
They took a £2000 solid oak bishop’s chair, with the Mouseman signature carved onto it.
The chair is very heavy and police believe that it would have taken two people to lift it.
Two further carved oak chairs were taken from St Oswald’s Church, Arncliffe, sometime between 30 November 2011 and 4 December 2011.
The chairs valued at £800 were taken from inside the church along with an antique pike staff.
On 2 December 2011, thieves struck in Sicklinghall for a second time. On this occasion they took a Mouseman bible stand from St Peter’s Church on Main Street.
Officers are appealing to anyone who has any information about the thefts to contact them with information.
PC Claire Brown, of Harrogate Priority Crime Team, said:
Stealing from churches is a pretty callous and heartless crime and I am appealing to anyone who can help us recover the stolen furniture to get in touch.
The thefts are likely to have occurred during the day while the churches were open and many of the items are heavy and would have required at least two people two lift them. Therefore, I am appealing to anyone who saw any suspicious activity around the churches at the time of the thefts to contact the police or Crimestoppers with information.
I would also appeal to antique dealers and second-hand shop owners to keep an eye out for the furniture and let the police know if they are offered any of the items for sale.”
Anyone who can help the police with their enquiries is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police, on 0845 60 60 24 7 – select option 2 – and ask for PC Claire Brown, or Harrogate Priority Crime Team.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Chair taken from Appletreewick
Bible stand stolen at Sicklinghall
Table stolen from Kirby Overblow