September 22 2014 Latest news:
Friday, April 25, 2014
A £1,000 reward is being offered for information about the theft of a rare Bible.
The Eastern Daily Press has teamed up with Lord and Lady Leicester, offering £500 each for information that leads to arrest and conviction along with the return of the Bible which was granted to the Leicester family in 1869.
The EDP reported yesterday how the gold leaf King James Bible is missing from the lectern in the Church of St Withburga on Main Road in Holkham, near Wells, where it has sat for 145 years. The precious book was presented to Juliana, the then Countess of Leicester, after she restored the historic church.
The words “Holkham Church 1869” are inscribed on the front of the five kilo book in gold leaf and it is still used in regular services today.
EDP editor Nigel Pickover said: “We want the Bible back within days.
“We simply can not let a piece of Norfolk’s history remain missing without a fight.”
The Bible is said to be worth around £500 but has far greater sentimental value.
Lady Leicester, who has spoken about how she was sickened by the theft, said: “I just find it unthinkable that someone would steal this Bible.
“The words ‘Holkham Church 1869’ are written on the front of it, so people will know where it has come from and that it has clearly been stolen, so it will be of no value at all to those who have taken it.
“I am delighted the EDP has kindly offered a reward and we are very pleased to match that.
“I just hope this pricks someone’s conscience and encourages them to come forward with information.”
The church is open to the public all year round, but relocates its parishioners to the chapel at Holkham Hall in the winter months.
The historic book was noticed missing on Palm Sunday by churchwarden Anthony Atkinson, although it is believed it could have disappeared as far back as Sunday, December 22 last year after a Christmas service.
Mr Atkinson also called for the 18in by 16in brown leather book to be returned.
The church remains open to the public.
Police officers would like to speak to anyone with any information relating to the incident or who believes they may know the whereabouts of the Bible.
Anyone who can help should contact PC Steve Jenkins at Norfolk Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Do you have a crime story? Email crime correspondent Peter Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org