Thieves have stolen a large brass bell from St Peter’s Church in Easton, near Norwich.

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It happened yesterday between 6.15pm and 9.30pm.

Suspects managed to climb to the roof and remove the solid brass bell from its chain before fleeing the scene.

Attempts to steal the church bell, worth about £1,500, were made the previous night after wardens discovered broken roof tiles on the floor yesterday morning.

Thieves had scaled the roof after piling wooden pallets next to the church entrance in Dereham Road. They failed in their first attempts only to return last night and steal the bell.

Officers believe the incident would have involved a number of people due to the size and weight of the bell.

Inspector James Brown, from the Costessey Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This was a pre-planned theft which would have involved a number of people to remove the bell and a vehicle to transport it.

“This is a busy stretch of road and I would urge anyone who may have been travelling in the area yesterday evening and witnessed people acting suspiciously near the church to come forward.”

Insp Brown said he believed the church bell had been targeted by thieves for its scrap metal value.

“We will be liaising with local scrap sites and I would urge dealers to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to police.”

Anyone with information regarding the incident should contact PC Richard Cox at Wymondham police station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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