AN historic church in south Sefton was targeted by low-life thieves who stole an entire pathway of valuable paving stones.
The Yorkstone slabs were laid at Sefton Parish Church, located in Sefton Village, near Maghull.
The church is 850 years old and the only Grade I listed building in the entire borough.
Church officials were left shocked and appalled when they discovered that 45 large stones which formed a path around the church building, had been stolen. It is believed the York slabs were taken overnight, but how they were lifted from the ground and transported away remains a mystery.
Locals have speculated that it was a planned theft involving at least two people who would have needed a large vehicle in order to place the heavy stones in.
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Merseyside Police have been informed and officers are now investigating the crime.
A group called Historic England Heritage Crime is also urging anyone with information to come forward. They work with partners and communities to protect England's most historic buildings from crime and anti-social behaviour.
Sefton Parish Church is dedicated to St Helen and has been a place of continuous Christian worship for more than 850 years.
The churchyard contains the war graves of 16 service personnel, ten of World War One and six of World War Two.
People have hit out at those responsible for the theft on social media. One person fumed: “This is appalling. It must have taken them hours so surely someone would have heard something or noticed something going on?”
Another said: “I can’t believe anyone would want to desecrate something that old and beautiful. Absolutely appalling.”
While another added: “That’s where I was married.
“This church is so old it’s listed in the doomsday book 1066. It’s tragic.”
Anyone with information can DM @MerPolCC or call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.