The donation box stolen from Boston Stump in what has been described as an ‘upsetting’ and ‘despicable’ incident has been recovered, but has been damaged, police have confirmed.
A police spokesman said that there was ‘mention of a skate park’ in the force log update, made yesterday (Thursday), and said the box ‘has been damaged’, but could not confirm the extent to which it had been.
They said no arrests had been made at this time but that investigations were ongoing.
The Stump has put out a message of thanks on its social media.
It said: “We are absolutely delighted to tell you that our box has been found!
“It has been on a bit of a journey, tried a bit of skateboarding, looking a bit worse for wear, is having a night in the police cell, but is coming home.
“Thank-you so much for help. xxx”
The Stump has been contacted for comment regarding the latest news but has yet to respond.
Parts of the box are believed to date back to the 1600s, from the era of John Cotton – a Puritan minister who spent 20 years at the church before being forced into hiding and later sailing to Boston, Massachusetts.
Bosses at The Stump were forced to make two calls to police regarding the ‘upsetting incident’ over a matter of days.
The first was made on Friday, October 27, at 12.15pm when the large donation box was stolen along with one Poppy Appeal tin.
The second report was made at about 3pm on Monday, October 30, after the two further tins went missing.
The church originally put out the appeal on social media platforms, in which it tagged organisations including The Standard.
The Rev Alyson Buxton, team rector, told The Standard in a previous story: ‘We have had two Royal British Legion Poppy collection tins stolen, one Royal Airforce Association collection tin stolen and this beautiful and very large donations box.
“The money is replaceable - but this fantastic historic box with so much sentimental value is not.
“Please please can we have it back, someone out there must know where it is!
“This is upsetting for the Church and also for the town.”
Community Beat Insp Andy Morrice previously said: “The theft of any charity tin is despicable but it is particularly low to steal from The Royal British Legion at a time when we should be remembering and respecting the selflessness of others.
“For this theft to have taken place in a church, and for the thieves to have also stolen a valuable piece of heritage, is beyond belief and I would urge anyone with information to come forward.
“The wooden collection box is very distinctive and somebody must have seen it. It’s very important that it is recovered, returned to its rightful place, and the offenders punished.”
Anyone with further information or who may have seen suspicious activity around the skate park should contact Lincolnshire Police on the 101 non-emergency number quoting incident 235 of October 30, or 160 of October 27.