By Tom Bristow
Friday, November 30, 2012
Potential wedding venues at picturesque Norfolk churches became crime scenes after a spate of thefts by a young couple.
Jason Hudson and his wife Zoe stole from churches across east Norfolk which they visited while looking for a venue for their forthcoming wedding.
St Mary’s in Stalham, St John’s in Waxham. St Michael’s in Sutton, St Margaret’s in Sea Palling and All Saints in Lessingham were all targeted by Mr and Mrs Hudson this year.
The Rev Simon Lawrence, vicar of St Mary’s, said: “The church operates on a trust basis and is left open.
“Therefore when persons breach the trust it concerns everybody associated with the church.
“A lot of people put a great deal of time into the church and feel let down.”
Mr Hudson, 21, of High Street, Stalham admitted taking microphones and wires from the vestry of St Mary’s on June 1 this year.
His 18-year-old wife, also of High Street, Stalham, stole cards and photos from the same church.
The couple also admitted a spate of thefts from other churches in the area which they asked Norwich Magistrates’ Court to take into account yesterday.
Officers arrested the couple on November 3 after a theft at the church in Stalham.
While searching their home they found items belonging to churches including cushions, tea towels, flags and a Bible.
The couple were warned by magistrates they could go to prison for the thefts, but were more likely to face a community sentence.
Although the value of the items taken was low, chairman of the bench Lynford Brunt said he was infuriated by the nature of the crimes.
“These offences are utterly despicable,” he said. “You say you went around churches in Norfolk looking for a venue for your wedding and then you stole from each and every one.
“You have done it consistently around every church that you went around. This is a total breach of trust.”
The couple married in July but continued to steal from churches after the wedding.
They apologised to the court which was told that they did not visit the churches intending to steal.
Mrs Hudson, a student, also made a small donation at one of the churches, in behaviour described as “contradictory” in court.
Mr Hudson, who committed eight thefts, and Mrs Hudson who admitted nine thefts, will be sentenced in December.