Arrested Lowestoft priest re-released as police investigation continues

Rev Matthew Payne from Christ Church, Lowestoft, has stepped back from the ministry amid an investig

Rev Matthew Payne from Christ Church, Lowestoft, has stepped back from the ministry amid an investigation. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A vicar who was suspended after being arrested has been re-released by police as an investigation continues.

Matthew Payne was vicar of Christ Church, Lowestoft, until he stepped down on Sunday, September 29.

The vicar was arrested on Thursday, September 19 as part of a police investigation, and was released on bail until Thursday, October 10.

Mr Payne was arrested as part of an "ongoing police investigation", officers said, and was taken to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre for questioning until he was released on bail.

He has now been re-released under investigation as officers continue to gather evidence and follow enquiries.

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A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: "The individual concerned is no longer on police bail and is released under investigation, pending further enquiries."

Police officers are still not saying what the vicar's arrest was in connection with.

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The Diocese of Norwich confirmed the vicar had stepped down from the church as a result of the police investigation.

"Matthew Payne has stepped back from the ministry at this time as a matter has arisen which is now being investigated. He was arrested on September 19 in connection with an ongoing police investigation and was subsequently released on bail.

"Under the Clergy Discipline Measure he was immediately suspended from all ministry and will remain so whilst the police investigation and legal processes are completed.

"We follow police guidance as to what we can and can't say publicly and therefore cannot comment further at this stage."

Christ Church has declined to comment.

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