THIEVES broke into a vicar’s home twice on Christmas Day, while he was leading services in his church.
The first raid on the house of the Revd William Henderson, in the village of Stanley, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, happened as he presided at the midnight eucharist in St Peter’s Church Centre a short distance away. A brick was thrown through a patio window, and presents were taken from under the Christmas tree. The raid was interrupted when his son-in-law returned from church to the vicarage because he thought he had left the kitchen hob on. Less than 12 hours later, as the Henderson family was attending the Christmas-morning service, during a second burglary, a spade was used to lever off the board covering the broken window. Property including a phone and purse was taken.
“Ironically, after the first break-in, the police told us it was very unlikely it would happen again,” Mr Henderson said. “At least the thieves were aware of our service times.”
Mr Henderson said that he felt very sad for the thieves. “That was their Christmas Day. When people do things like that, it affects their soul a little bit: they won’t be having a good day. It’s one of these things we need to think a bit more about: what are we doing to support people who get into these desperate situations?
“Fortunately, we had made a decision not to make a big thing of giving presents this year: it was more about the family being together. So there wasn’t the usual pile: there were just a few special ones for the immediate family, which were taken. It didn’t spoil Christmas for us. We have a loving family, and were enjoying spending time together; but it did make the house seem less secure, and you feel violated, in a way.
“Stanley is a great village, and the response from the community has been very encouraging and supportive. It is in the midst of tragedy and difficulty that extraordinary love is demonstrated.”
West Yorkshire Police said that a man aged 36 had been charged with two counts of burglary.