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Appeal to hoteliers as police investigate 15 church burglaries

February 20, 2013, 5:03 pm

Police investigating a series of church burglaries across North Yorkshire have issued an appeal to find 50-year-old Christopher John Coulthard from Warwickshire.

Detectives believe he could have important information which could assist their investigation into 15 burglaries reported over the past week.

Coulthard is also wanted by Warwickshire Police for recall to prison after breaching the terms of his licence. He was jailed for nine years in 2010 but released on licence in November 2012.

He is known to travel around the country on a bicycle and stays at bed and breakfasts, pubs and hotels using a false name.

Detectives are urging staff in the hospitality trade to contact the police if they recognise Coulthard as one of their customers. Officers believe he may be working his way around the country and are extending the appeal to hotels and guest houses in the neighbouring counties of North Yorkshire including the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions, although he could strike anywhere in the country.

Anyone who has any information about his recent movements or his current whereabouts is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Northallerton CID.

Alternatively, you can pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or online at

Recent church burglary reports:

  1. St Andrews Church, Finghall, Leyburn – broken into room containing safe but safe was empty – nothing taken
  2. St Andrews church, Aysgarth – attempted break-in – nothing taken
  3. St Bartholomews, West Witton, Leyburn – entered the church then attempted break-in – nothing taken
  4. St Michaels Church - Spennithorne, Leyburn 15 – 16 Feb, entered church and forced the door to tower room, although nothing taken
  5. Holy Trinity, Wensley near Leyburn, tried to break into safe but failed, nothing taken
  6. Holy Trinity Church, Ripon -  broke into church and then into secure room where the took the petty cash tin containing an amount of cash.
  7. St Marys Church, Masham – broken into bell room, nothing taken
  8. St Curthberts and St Oswalds, Winksely, Ripon, attempted break-in – nothing taken
  9. St Michaels Church, Littlethorpe near Ripon – attempted break-in – nothing taken
  10. St Hildas Church, Ampleforth – broken into church, and stole cash from the safe
  11. St Marys Church, Rievaulx Bank, Helmsley –attempted break-in – nothing taken
  12. St Marys Church, High Street - Helmsley, attempted break-in – nothing taken
  13. St Gregorys Minster, Welburn, Kirkbymoorside – forced open collection box and stole amount of cash
  14. St Johns Priory, Easingwold – tried to break into secure collection box but failed, nothing taken
  15. Holy Ascension Church, Settle – broke into bell room and stole cash

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime

101 – The police non-emergency number

101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.
Find out more information about 101 by following this link.

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