Honiton residents outraged by burglary spree

PUBLISHED: 09:26 15 September 2011

The devastation left in the parish office.

The devastation left in the parish office.

Archant

Wave of shock and disgust after parish church falls victim.

A SPATE of burglaries across Honiton has shocked residents to the core.

They have branded the actions of the culprits “disgusting and low”.

Burglars earlier this month ransacked St Paul’s Church, trashing the parish office and overturning a large oak table in the main building, after breaking in through a back door.

It is believed the thief was looking for money.

Chippy Joe’s and the Thelma Hulbert Gallery were also targeted and both had donations stolen from charity boxes.

The owner of Chippy Joe’s, Joe Gamlen, was so outraged he put a price on the burglar’s head - placing a reward poster in his New Street window in a bid to find out who was to blame.

The thefts have been condemned by Midweek Herald readers, with many saying Mr Gamlen was right to make an effort to flush out the thief.

Janet Bramley, 62, said: “The burglaries are terrible, especially the one at the church. It does shock me.

“It is disgusting and I think there should be a price on the burglar’s head.

“There does need to be stricter punishments for criminals - sentences need to be tougher.

“Everybody has got less money, but not everyone resorts to stealing - nobody has any respect for anything any more.”

Chrissy L, 68, said: “The burglary at the church is disgusting. Why have people got to go that low? It is very sad.

“The person, or people, behind it should be made to do community service and there should be pictures of them up everywhere to name and shame them.”

Elsie Stanbury, 39, said: “The burglary at the church is disgusting.

“People are desperate in this day and age, but it is the same situation for everyone.

“We are too soft on criminals and the punishments do need to be tougher.

“I don’t think there should be a price on the burglar’s head, but the punishment should fit the crime.”

Crystal Slocombe, 19, said: “The burglaries in the town and the church do shock me. I think the burglars should get punished for it

“It is low to steal charity boxes and to steal from a church.

“They are stealing from the people who are donating the money to charity.”

Ray Miller, said: “It’s obviously someone with a drug habit.

“What drives a person to stoop so low?

“Chip shop charity boxes, ransacking a church - it’s not good.”

Dennis Cooper, 79, said: “It is awful. I can’t understand the mentality of the people behind the burglaries - stealing from charities and the church.

“The church used to be treated like a sacred place by many people.

“It will mean the insurance cost for the church and the others will go up.

“I think the punishments are too light for criminals and the community spirit has gone from everything now.”

His wife Joyce, 73, added: “It is terrible, but it is a sign of the times as people have not got any money.

“It is just shameful that anyone would break into a church. I can’t understand it."

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