Thursday 29 September 2016

On-the-run vicar convicted of €34,000 theft hands himself in

Published 27/07/2015 | 14:25

Church of England vicar Simon Reynolds, 50, as the on-the-run vicar who disappeared during a lunch break at Sheffield Crown Court on July 23 shortly before he was found guilty of four counts of theft after stealing thousands of pounds remains at large Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Church of England vicar Simon Reynolds, 50, as the on-the-run vicar who disappeared during a lunch break at Sheffield Crown Court on July 23 shortly before he was found guilty of four counts of theft after stealing thousands of pounds remains at large Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

A vicar who went on the run while waiting to be convicted of stealing thousands of pounds has handed himself in.

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Simon Reynolds disappeared during a lunch break at Sheffield Crown Court on July 23 shortly before he was found guilty of four counts of theft.

He illegally pocketed more than £24,000 (€34,000) of fees given to him for weddings, funerals and graveyard memorials while priest in charge of All Saints Church in Darton, near Barnsley.

South Yorkshire Police alerted Interpol, fearing the 50-year-old may have fled to mainland Europe.

But the force said Reynolds handed himself in at a police station in Sheffield earlier today, where he was arrested. He will appear in court later.

Read more: On-the-run vicar guilty of stealing €34,000 still at large

Senior clergy had appealed for Reynolds, of Farnham, Surrey, to hand himself in, including the Right Reverend Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, and the Venerable Peter Townley, the Archdeacon of Pontefract.

Reynolds' trial heard he had not paid any fees for weddings or funerals to the Wakefield Diocesan Board of Finance for a number of years, despite conducting a number of services during this time.

Monuments for 23 burials and 50 cremation plaques or inscriptions were found in the church grounds and graveyard but no records of the burials or cremations had been made.

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