THIEVES stole a 10-foot cross built on a remote moor for a traditional service to celebrate Easter.
Methodist minister the Reverend Les Nevin, who has led the short communion service on the outskirts of Consett for the last seven years, had placed the wooden cross on Waskerley Moor during Lent in preparation for the service.
But only a few days later he discovered that the cross had disappeared, sawn from its concealed concrete base below soil level and taken away.
Reverend Nevin said: “I could hardly believe my eyes when I returned and there was no trace of the cross. It was almost like an empty tomb experience”.
Not to be deterred, Reverend Nevin spent several hours on the Saturday evening before the service carving a larger, replacement cross out of snow.
The service could go ahead as normal at dawn on Easter Day, although the snow cross has since melted away. Reverend Nevin also had a message for whoever had removed the cross, saying: “If you still have the cross I’d like to collect it and use it elsewhere.
“However if you are so short of wood that you need to take a cross I’d be pleased to give you the £26 it cost me to buy the wood so you can buy some more.”