Norfolk pastor’s anger at spate of thefts

A village pastor has urged rural residents to be more vigilant after becoming the victim of a spate of thefts at his church and home.

Rev Mark Taylor, of the Carleton Rode Baptist Church, near Attleborough, spoke of his anger after thieves targeted his workplace and home in nearby Bunwell.

The 18th century church's school room and storage area was torched by arsonists attempting to steal a ride-on lawnmower in 2009 and officials and worshippers have been working hard to rebuild the historic building in Carleton Rode.

But Mr Taylor said he was saddened after a portable toilet, worth �600, was stolen from the site two weeks ago and two children's BMX bikes, worth �360, were taken from a locked shed at his home in The Street, Bunwell, on Friday night.

The pastor, who suffered a stroke in October, said the Apollo BMX bicycles had been Christmas presents for his eight-year-old twin sons.

Mr Taylor, who has lived in the area for almost three years, said he had not been the victim of crime when he lived in London and Coventry. He added that he did not believe the thief was a local person and the area needed a neighbourhood watch group.

'For the first time I feel quite angry and I am a pretty laid back person. One of my sons cried all morning on Saturday and we now have to try and explain why their bikes have gone.'

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'I do not want to live in a siege mentality or in a fortress. We want to live our normal day to day lives, but I do think we need to realise that perhaps village life is not as safe as we think it is,' he said.