Vicar of St Andrew's Church reacts to the theft of historic gravestones

Late Thursday night, numerous historic York stone slabs were stolen from St Andrew’s Church in Leyland, many of which were marked as gravestones.

By Aimee Seddon
Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:56 pm

The news sparked an outrage on Facebook when it broke, and yesterday, the church’s Vicar, David Whitehouse, also reacted to the theft.

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Historic gravestones from 1800s stolen from St Andrew's Church in Leyland sparki...

Speaking to the Post, David said: "St Andrew’s Church has always been a place about good news and and so it’s always had a special place within the hearts of the community here so it’s a sad thing that this has happened, it’s a painful thing, not just for us as a church but for our town.

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The Vicar of St Andrew's Church has reacted to the theft of some of their historic gravestones.

"As sad as it is, it doesn't stop the church sharing the message of hope, the good news that is found in Jesus Christ, that we have at the centre of what we do. So it’s a theft and lot's of people within Leyland will suffer theft and be the victims of crimes, but we want to be a place that shares good news in the midst of that, rather than dwelling on it."

The theft took place in the early hours of the morning on Thursday night, with police saying that a van was spotted in the church's car park at around 12.30am before the incident.

On Friday afternoon, a spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "Some of the stones that have been stolen are from the 1800s and those families are still local to the area so this must be upsetting for them."

Yesterday, St Andrew's Church held three Sunday services, as it usually does, and David said the recent theft did not change their message or the congregation's spirit.

The theft took place in the early hours of the morning on Thursday night.

David explained: “it wasn't the major talking point of the day, it was something that people were aware of, but it is something that - those who spoke to me about it, would agree - isn’t the most important thing, the most important thing is the message of hope and good news that we have and we were meeting, sharing, delighting in that today.

"There is sadness of course that we’ve been the victim of the crime but there is more to St Andrew’s than just the fact that we’ve been a victim of crime. As I say, we are a church that’s about good news in the community and we would want that to be the thing that is heard.”

David added that there have been no further developments as to the whereabouts of the historic gravestones, although they remain hopeful that they will be returned.

Anyone with information on the theft can contact police on 101 or online at, quoting incident number 0401 of January 14.

The whereabouts of the historic gravestones remain unknown but the Church are hopeful that they will be returned.