AN intruder at Lyme’s parish church failed to steal anything valuable but made himself a cuppa before leaving.
Police believe a man entered St Michael’s just after it was opened in the morning, rifled through drawers and tried to open the safe.
He made himself at home in the vestry where he made a cup of tea, leaving an empty mug as evidence.
Police believe a man caught on CCTV going into the church at 9.07am last Tuesday and leaving at 10.07am is responsible.
Lyme Regis neighbourhood beat manager PC Kirsti Ball said: “An unknown offender has entered the church and searched around various parts of the church, however nothing has been taken.
“The offender has then entered the vestry area where he has opened several drawers and attempted to open the safe.
“He then made himself a cup of tea before leaving.
“We believe the offender is male, wearing reddish brown trousers and coat, brown shoes, wearing a hat and carrying a rucksack and a green plastic carrier bag.”
Churchwarden Margaret McConkey said CCTV installed following the smashing of a stained glass window in 2008 has proved its worth.
She said: “There is a notice to say we have CCTV as a kind of warning.
“We care about the church and obviously we don’t want any kind of vandalism or anything taken that might be of interest to anybody.
“We are careful about what we lock away.
“The CCTV has helped pinpoint the time it happened and hopefully it will be helpful to the police.
“We had wondered whether to report it to the police because nothing was taken but if he or she had found something valuable it would have been wrong not to.
“Maybe it could prevent a crime happening somewhere else.”
Mrs McConkey noticed items had been moved around when she went into the church on Tuesday morning to prepare for a service.
She said: “We discovered an intruder had been in and scattered some things around, obviously searching for something.
“We like to have the church open for people to come and have quiet moments so it is open from 9 in the morning to 4 at this time of year and later in the summer, but they can’t access anything of value.
“The intruder had also made a drink. There was sugar left in one place, a mug in another place, and a spoon, so none of those things would normally be out.”
Mrs McConkey said people appreciate being able to go into the church and it would remain open despite this incident.
“An awful lot of churches are kept locked except during service times, but isn’t it nice that we can do it in Lyme?” she said.
“I think it was possibly just someone who is travelling around and looking for a few pennies here and there.”
Witnesses and anyone with information are asked to contact Dorset Police on 101.