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Church can keep fortune

03 January 2014


A CHURCH in York can keep £100,000 left in a bin bag on the doorstep of its former vicarage four months ago.

The cash, which is two-and-a-half times the annual income of St Thomas with St Maurice, in The Groves district of York, was handed over to the police.

But in a hearing two days before Christmas, the Magistrates Court in York was told that no one had come forward to claim it. So, in line with the Police Property Act 1897, which allows the finder to keep unclaimed lost property, it was handed over to the PCC.

The court was told that police thought at first that the cash could be stolen, but they could find no evidence that it was linked to crime, and no one responded to a police appeal for anyone who been robbed or lost the cash to come forward. There was also insufficient evidence to suggest that it could be ill-gotten gains, which would be forfeit under the Proceeds of Crime Act. As owners of the property where the money was found, the church council was entitled to keep it.

A spokeswoman for the diocese of York said last week: "It's great news for the church." No detailed decisions have yet been made on how it will use the money, but it would be spent "to continue the work of the church in the community", she said.

The chairman of The Groves residents' association, Martin Crosby, suggested two causes: the York Arc Light Project, which provides accommodation and support for homeless people; and Door 84, a youth club near the church which caters for eight- to 17-year-olds, and also doubles as a community centre.

Detective Inspector Andrea Kell, from York CID, said that it was a "very unusual find", but, after months of waiting, the mystery remained unsolved.

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