AN INVESTIGATION is underway following the disappearance of a wrought iron cross from the spire of a historic church.

It is thought that thieves scaled scaffolding currently in place on All Saints with John the Baptist Church, which is located on the junction of Padiham Road and Kiddrow Lane in Burnley, under the cover of night to steal the 60kg cross.

An appeal had now been launched, with officers asking anyone who may have seen anything peculiar in the area on September 26 to come forward.

The Grade II listed church is currently undergoing repair work to its spire and tower thanks to a grant of £10,000 from the National Churches Trust.

The large building was constructed in the mid-19th century with the help of two wealthy local families – the Shuttleworths of Gawthorpe Hall who have the land and Lowerhouse mill-owners the Dugdales, who provided the money.

Desperate repairs were needed to the church’s tower and spire to make the church watertight and to preserve its historical internal fabric.

But thieves have made the most of the scaffolding being in place to steal the four ft tall cross.

A police spokesman said: “The cross is black in colour and very heavy, weighing about 60kg. It is around 4ft tall with a small circular motif in the middle. This happened overnight on the 26th of September 2019.

If anybody has any information to offer about this then please contact Lancs Police on 101 quoting crime reference 04/171049/19. “