Man stole TV in church raid

Christ Church, Mount Pellon.
Christ Church, Mount Pellon.

A 21-year-old Halifax man was convicted for one count of burglary after stealing a TV and projection equipment from a church.

Simon Dennett of Duke Street, Elland, pleaded not guilty to four allegations of burglary from Christ Church, Pellon, but was found guilty of one charge after CCTV and forensic evidence placed him at the scene.

Prosecutor Laura McBride told Calderdale Magistrates’ Court that the church had been broken into on four occasions since April, each time with the burglar gaining access through the toilet window.

Miss McBride said that following the third break-in, West Yorkshire Police installed hidden cameras at the church.

On August 17, Dennett entered the church and made off with a flat-screen TV and screen. When the footage was viewed by police, Dennett was recognised by Det Sgt Ross Wadsworth at Halifax CID.

He told the court: “If you review the footage in slow-time, there are certain frames where you get a full facial.”

Shoe prints lifted from the scene bore a strong match to a pair taken from Dennett.

A victim impact statement from Susan Heptonstall, a minister at Christ Church, was read out to the court.

It said: “It has been deeply shocking and disturbing that the church has been targeted in this way. Each time we are targetted our insurance premiums go up. The crimes committed not only affect the local church and its congregation, but the wider community.”

Chair of Magistrates Anthony Turner told Dennett: “We have viewed the video and we are sure that is you in the video. A prison sentence is a distinct possibility.”

Dennett will return to Calderdale Magistrates on October 29.