MONEY donated by visitors to Great Malvern Priory in a collection box has been stolen.

Peter Hughes, the priory’s head verger, estimates the box may have contained as much as £20, given in support of the church’s bells appeal. The theft happened some time between 1pm and 5pm on Saturday.

Mr Hughes said: “It’s difficult to say how much money was in the box, so I estimated it as £20, and that’s what I told police. We empty the box frequently.

“The Priory is open during the daytime, and it’s difficult to keep an eye on everything all the time, but it’s still annoying when someone steals from a church.”

The church needs £200,000 to refurbish the bell-frame, which moves as the bells are being rung, putting stress on the tower’s structure. Last year the appeal reached its half-way mark.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.