THE community of Leominster is being asked to be vigilant around a town church where collection money was stolen sometime after Sunday's Remembrance Service.

It is the second time the cash donations pillar in the Priory Church has been targeted in the space of a year, with thieves using various methods to conceal their actions.

Despite needing a tool such as an angle grinder to break into the pot, those responsible for the theft left the scene looking as though it had not been touched.

It was only when churchwarden David Bland discovered a padlock missing on Tuesday morning that the break-in was uncovered.

Mr Bland said: "I'm pretty confident it was fine on Sunday during the service and, given the amount in it when I found it this morning, I think it was probably done on Sunday afternoon.

"It looks like they have taken an angle grinder to cut into it, and then swept away the debris. It's been put back together.

"I always check the padlock and noticed that wasn't there this morning and then realised the pins were missing that hold it together."

Money placed in the box was for general donations to the church and cash from the purchase of items from the church bookshop over a period of around one week.

Mr Bland said: "It's the second time it's been attacked in the last year. The last time they were equally cunning and removed the padlock and replaced it with one of their own.

"We are thinking about CCTV but don't really want to record people going to church. It's open from 7am to 4pm during the day for people to come and pray and it's really important we keep it open.

"What we would appeal is that if anybody sees anyone acting suspiciously around the building to report it to police."

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101.