‘Delight’ as records of births, marriages and deaths stolen from Whitton church are found in field

PUBLISHED: 20:13 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 21:46 11 January 2018

	Whitton Church taken one Sunday afternoon in September - Church Lane, Ipswich.

Whitton Church taken one Sunday afternoon in September - Church Lane, Ipswich.

(c) copyright

Forty years of a Suffolk community’s history has been saved after a safe containing church records was found dumped in a field.

Some of the silver items stolen from St Mary and St Botolph church in Whitton. Picture: CHURCHSome of the silver items stolen from St Mary and St Botolph church in Whitton. Picture: CHURCH

Hundreds of records of births, deaths and marriages had been stolen along with silverware worth “many thousands” of pounds when a gang of thieves broke in to St Mary and St Botolph’s church in Whitton, Ipswich, overnight from December 30-31.

Revd Mary Sokanovic, the priest in charge of the church, said after the theft it had come as a “huge blow” to the community – but she is now “absolutely delighted” the records have been recovered.

“The important thing is the births, deaths and marriage that represent the high points and low points of life in the community have been saved,” she added. “It’s important for all those really special moments to be recorded.”

With some of the records dating back as far as 1978, Rev Sokanovic said there was a risk that entire generations of the community’s history could have been lost.

The safe containing the records was discovered on Tuesday by a Mid Suffolk District Council employee in the area of Pipps Ford Lane near Needham Market. Almost all of the damage, including the parish record books, were found inside.

Although the records have suffered water damage, they had been taken for conservation work at Ipswich Museum and the Suffolk Records Office.

Rev Sokanovic has praised the work of PCSOs Lousie Manning and Hayley Stevenson, who she said worked “tenaciously” to return the records.

None of the silverware, which includes religious artefacts, an Elizabethan flagon, plates, chalices, communion cups and a wafer box, have been found – and police are appealing for witnesses.

Two men have been charged with receiving stolen goods in connection with the burglary.

Ionut Avadanei, 19, of Crescent Road, Ipswich, has been released on bail to appear at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on February 5. Vasile Tecaru, 20, of Mountbatten Court, Ipswich, has also been charged with attempted burglary, relating to a property in Norwich Road, Barham, between April 10-12. He made a first appearance before magistrates last Friday, where he was bailed for a next hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on January 30.

Anyone with information should call Ipswich West Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 quoting reference 73/18, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Stowmarket Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Stowmarket Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Stowmarket Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other popular content


The Proposed Relevant Licensable Activities are: Supply of alcohol. Screening of films. Playing of live and recorded music.


Name of Applicant: Julien Jourdain Name of Premises: Mariners Postal Address of Premises: Neptune Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AX


Emma Stuart trading as Liam Molloy Transport of 53 Britannia Road, Ipswich, IP4 5LD is applying to change an existing licence as follows: To keep an extra 3 goods vehicles and 3 trailers at the operating centre at Water Compound, Walton Avenue, Felixstowe, IP11 3HH

Yesterday, 23:00

Police have warned of the dangers of drug use after finding empty canisters of laughing gas by a Suffolk village hall.

Local weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 3°C

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Stowmarket Mercury regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24