North West Wales

Rare bible from 1589, stolen from St Mary's, Trefriw

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionA modern bible was left in the empty space by the thieves

A rare bible dating back to the 16th Century has been stolen from a locked case at a church in the Conwy Valley.

The Geneva Breeches Bible from 1589 was at St Mary's church in Trefriw in a glass case covered with a cloth to protect the book from daylight.

Churchgoers realised it was gone on Sunday when a child asked to see it.

It had last been seen on 25 October, and the church had only been left open and unattended on four occasions since then.

"A little boy had asked to see the special bible and it was gone. I just felt sick," said Hilary Brookes, a church warden and lay reader at St Mary's.

"It was a planned thing because they knew what they were after. There were no fingerprints and the display case was locked."

Mrs Brookes said the bible's name comes from the unusual description in Genesis Chapter 3, Verse 7, "They sewed leaves together and made themselves breeches" - a description of how Adam and Eve first clothed themselves.

Lock forced

The bibles were written in Switzerland by Protestant reformers who had fled Britain during the reign of Mary Tudor some years earlier, she added.

Image caption The bible used to be kept in a safe but had been on display in a locked glass case when it was stolen

As well as leaving no fingerprints the thieves also went to the trouble of putting a copy of the Good News Bible in place of the one they had taken.

Mrs Brookes added she had looked on the internet and found the bible could be worth over £2,200.

PC Nerys Thomas from North Wales Police said: "The church has only been open four times between October 25th and December 1st and it's believed that an implement was used to force the lock during one of the days when it was open."

Anyone with information can contact PC2505 Thomas on 101, quoting reference number RC13196544 or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

More on this story