In the Media

Cathedral dean's wife takes back swag from burglar

PUBLISHED November 10, 2011

The clergy may have havered and wavered at St Paul's in London; but in Durham they do things differently The Anglican church has been getting a battering over the St Paul's camp but it seems to have handled a smaller crisis in Durham rather well so far. The city's Crown court has heard how the wife of the cathedral's Dean, Very Rev Michael Sadgrove , chanced to go into her husband's study, and found a burglar standing by her husband's desk, complete with the traditional swag bag. Jenny Sadgrove went over, took the bag, fished out the Dean's wallet and asked the intruder to leave, which he did. Her only error in this impressively calm display was not to check the wallet's contents. Two hundred Euros and a key to the cathedral's 13th century undercroft were later found to be missing. The burglar, 29-year-old David Clark of Langley Moor, was recognised on CCTV and arrested; he admitted the offence and apologised. His counsel at Durham Crown court, Ros Scott Bell, said that he had overcome heroin addiction but then succumbed to alcohol, a challenge which he was tackling under a supervision order made after his last offence. That didn't save him from a 16-month jail sentence, imposed by the recorder of Durham, Peter Makepeace, who told Clark: Mrs Sadgrove showed extraordinary fortitude and is clearly a very plucky lady indeed. She showed great strength, the way she confronted you and removed the wallet from the bag, seeing you off the premises. You have, at least, shown remorse and apologised to the Dean and his wife. Durham's back-to-back World Heritage Sites, the cathedral and the castle, have to take expensive measures against theft, with recent crimes including the notorious affair of Durham University's first folio of Shakespeare. The key taken by Clark was safely recovered; and the church's challenge now passes to its prison chaplains, and their chance to make a difference to the often malign effects of custody on people with drug or drink dependency. Durham Anglicanism Religion Crime Prisons and probation Martin Wainwright © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds