Church burgled to buy food

Westborough Methodist Church. 081182
Westborough Methodist Church. 081182

A SCARBOROUGH reverend yesterday spoke out after a man admitted breaking into his church – and stole from a charity box.

Barry Lee Wright, 32, of Trafalgar Square, who has burgled properties before, got into Westborough Methodist Church.

But he was seen on closed-circuit TV cameras as he helped himself to the contents of the charity box, which was meant to help Scarborough’s Amelia’s Fund, set up by Amelia Scholey who endured a heart transplant in her teens.

Miss Scholey, now 24, said: “I’m gutted ... it was being raised for people who needed it.”

The Rev Haynes added: “In that girl you have the best in humanity, and on the other hand you have this guy, who represents the worst in it.”

Magistrates heard that Wright selected the church for his latest pilfering act on Wednesday August 17 – but was caught on CCTV.

Katy Varlow, prosecuting, told Scarborough magistrates that the burglary was discovered by church members the following day. She said: “They found damage in the coffee lounge and a lit candle.”

She said a lock was damaged during the incident. “He was seen on CCTV tampering with a charity box. The money was gone and it will cost £15 to repair the damage.”

Mrs Varlow said Wright admitted his crime when he was interviewed by police, adding: “He said he went into the church via a side door to get money for food.”

Robert Vining, mitigating, said his client accepted what he had done.

He added: “He’s going to be recalled to prison. He had no money and it was the only thing he could think of so that he could have something to eat.”

Mr Vining said that Wright was recognised from the CCTV footage and was later arrested. He added: “When he was arrested he made no prevarications in a short interview. He said ‘yes that’s me I went into the church so I could get some money so I could have some food’.”

He said that Wright was being recalled to prison to complete a previous sentence for burglary and he had also made another court appearance on the day of the recent burglary offence.

Wright was told by magistrates that his offence was “very serious” and he was sentenced to 18 weeks in custody.

Speaking after the hearing the Rev Mark Haynes, of Westborough Baptist Church, said: “We get quite a lot of vandalism and petty theft at the church, so that is nothing new. But with this, I’m just so disgusted in humanity.”

The charity box belonged to Amelia’s Fund, set up by 24-year-old Amelia Scholey who had a heart transplant in her teens.

She is hoping to raise £10,000 by the 10th anniversary of the life-saving transplant in August next year.

The money will go towards the British Heart Foundation and organ donation charity Live Life Then Give Life.

Miss Scholey said: “I’m gutted really. They must be a low life to do something like that.

“I was so disappointed when I got the call. We don’t know how much was in the box, but it was being raised for people who need it.

“This person has taken something that’s not theirs - they should have got longer than 18 weeks.”

As well as raising funds for charity, Miss Scholey works in the M&S cafe in Newborough and is a Ranger and Guide leader at Westborough Church.