St. Leonard’s Church in Hythe, Kent, famous across the country for its collection of ancient skulls and bones exceeding 1,000 pieces, has parted with 21 skulls. Thieves reportedly damaged a door lock and took the remains, which were on display in a crypt.
According to a police statement, Reverend Andrew Sweeney, who is in charge of the parish, described the theft as “shocking and unsettling.”
“Each skull represents the mortal remains of a human being who deserves to rest in peace,” he said.
The police investigating the case have appealed to those who may know anything about the crime to come forward.
“We would like to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at the time of the burglary. Also we ask people to get in touch if they have seen these skulls offered for sale,” Inspector Maxine Harris said, as cited by The Daily Mail.
The church, which is incidentally dedicated to the patron saint of prisoners, has gained notoriety across the country for its ossuary. According to a tourist guide from Kent, it “has the largest and best-preserved collection of ancient human bones and skulls in Britain,” which presumably belonged to locals and were originally dug up in the 13th century.