Thieves replace historic church bell with $10 plastic pot
BOLD as brass, thieves have made off with a 130-year-old church bell in a crime that has stunned parishioners.
The bell had pride of place in front of St Paul's Anglican Church in Kingsley St, Byron Bay.
Adding insult to injury, the thieves cable-tied a $10 fake metal pot made out of plastic where the extremely valuable brass bell had hung on a wooden tripod.
The bell had been restored, re-dedicated and blessed by Bishop of Grafton the Right Reverend Dr Murray Harvey only last October.
Church Warden of St Paul's, Helen Brown, was among the parishioners who discovered the bell was missing on Sunday morning.
"This is a piece of Byron Bay's heritage, it's unfortunate that we now live in a community where this kind of thing can happen," Ms Brown said.
"The Rector's warden, who lives nearby believes he heard a bell toll on Saturday evening, which he thought was odd.
"It definitely looks like a pre-meditated act, you wouldn't just happen to be wandering around on a Saturday night with a plastic pot under your arm.
"When the bell was restored and re-dedicated last October it took two workmen to lift it into place.
"The thieves may have thought if they hung the pot in its place we may not have noticed the theft straight away."
"I hope its just a very un-funny prank and a waste of our time rather than a malicious act of theft," Reverend John Power said.
"I just hoping the bell gets returned and has not been stolen, or worse still, melted down."
Anyone with information should contact Byron Bay Police on 66859499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.