Police in Scotland are desperately appealing for two historic bibles to be returned after they were stolen from Abercorn Church in West Lothian. The 200-year-old texts were stolen from the pulpit area between midday on Sunday, 17 July, and 2pm on Saturday, 23 July.
The bibles had been lent to the church by the Hopetouns, a historic family whose ancestral links with the area date back more than 300 years. They are approximately two foot by one foot in size and are around five inches thick. Each is bound with red leather and has distinctive brass plating on the corners.
Constable Andrew Young who is based at Broxburn police station said: "Both bibles hold considerable value not only in monetary terms but also have historic significance for the local community. We are extremely keen to recover these items and return them to the church as quickly as possible."
Lord Hopetoun, speaking on behalf of the Hope family, added: " We are very distressed at the theft of these bibles. They have been on loan from my family to Abercorn Kirk for a long time and recently, the Kirk Session, of which I am part, had reluctantly to take the decision to lock the church after a series of antisocial incidents.
"To be confronted now with the theft of these irreplaceable pulpit bibles is deeply sad. If anyone has any knowledge of their whereabouts, I would urge them to contact the police as they are of huge value to the Abercorn community."
Anyone with information that can help police trace the bibles should get in touch with police on 101. Alternatively, a report can be passed anonymously through the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.