The patron of lost and stolen items has gone missing from a church after a raid by thieves, who also took supermarket vouchers for school computer equipment.
The 2ft high statue of St Anthony of Padua disappeared from All Souls church in Park Road, Peterborough last Friday.
The wooden figure had been in the Roman Catholic church since it was founded in the late 19th century.
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Fr David Jennings, parish priest, said: “We have good pictures of the raiders from CCTV cameras in the church.”
‘Mortified at loss’
The large Italian and Indian communities who use the church both revere the Portuguese saint who was also a preacher and theologian in the 12th century.
He is the patron saint of many causes, but is best known for helping people recover lost or stolen items.
Fr Jennings said: “Our people are mortified at the loss because it has been with the church for so long and is part of our heritage.
“All Souls and Peterborough Cathedral are usually the only churches open in the city throughout the day so we are going to have to increase security.
“The insurance will cover the loss of the statue but we hope the police may be able to trace the thieves and perhaps we can get it back.”