RETURN OF THE CROSS: Stolen crucifix returned to Newcastle church
Images from Northumbria Police
A cherished crucifix that was stolen from the remembrance garden of a Newcastle church has been returned to the parish after it was tracked down by police.
Last Thursday the parish of All Saints Church in Gosforth were left horrified to find that the cross – that includes a bronzed sculpture of Jesus Christ – had been taken overnight by thieves.
The highly sentimental bronze crucifix was erected in the church’s garden of remembrance in 1965 where the ashes of many loved ones have been scattered.
Northumbria Police immediately launched an investigation to try and identify those responsible for the theft of the cross, believed to be worth more than £20,000.
And following a public appeal for information, officers received a call reporting that the cross was being held at a scrap yard in the city after being handed in by the thieves.
Officers raided the yard and quickly located the crucifix before arresting a 55-year-old man on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
On Wednesday 19 May it was returned to All Saints Church by Neighbourhood Inspector Harninder Bola ready to be erected in the remembrance garden once it has been repaired.
“We are delighted that we have been able to locate the crucifix and a big reason for that is the incredible amount of support from our community,” said Insp Bola.
“Our appeal was shared widely and that has led to a call from a member of the public that has proved crucial to tracking down its whereabouts.
“Unfortunately the crucifix has been damaged and the church and its congregation will now have to look into whether it can be repaired before it is once again erected in their remembrance garden.
“Our investigation to identify those responsible will continue but we have already made an arrest and will continue to work hard to identify any other suspects.
“We hope that our determination to find this crucifix, and return it to All Saints, reassures the community that we will not let such heartless crimes go undetected.”
The Reverend Canon Andrew Shipton, of All Saints Church, added: "There was great sadness and shock when the crucifix was taken. For more than half a century it has stood in a consecrated area next to our church where many ashes are buried, giving comfort as the lives of loved ones are remembered.
“Many of us feared we would never see the bronze statue again and we are so relieved and thrilled that it has been found. There is some damage to it but we think it can be repaired. It it is wonderful to have the statue back.”
Northumbria Police said “police enquiries into the theft, that took place overnight between Wednesday, May 12, and Thursday, May 13, are ongoing and the man arrested has since been released under investigation.”
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