A rector has branded burglars as “heartless” after two churches were raided in one day.

The Rev Sandra Manley, rector as the Church of St Mary and St Margaret in Stow Maries, was left shocked and saddened when a statue of Virgin Mary and Jesus on her lap was stolen from the church on Saturday.

The statue, which was 12 to 18 inches tall and made from either plaster or wood, was taken from between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

The thieves also tried to pull out the aumbry - a small safe in the church wall - which contained bread and wine for those too ill to attend church, but were unsuccessful.

See this week's Standard - out today - for the full story.