Members of the ancient parish church of All Saints at Barwick-in-Elmet were outraged and disappointed to learn on Wednesday that new gates to the churchyard, fitted just weeks ago, had been stolen.
It took months for church members to raise more than £2,000 to buy the gates, which were made by village craftsman Geoff Bulmer.
He used European Oak to withstand any weather and incorporated original ironwork from the previous gates, which had given good service for almost half a century.
The new gates, so heavy that it took three men to lift each one, were fitted during May to complete a major restoration of the churchyard, which won a Gold award in last year’s Yorkshire in Bloom competition.
Churchwarden Colin Bond told the Wetherby News: “My heart just sank when I was told the gates had gone. It made me feel sick to think someone could steal them after all the fundraising and the time it took to make and fit them.
“They were there at 6pm on Tuesday evening but a member of Geoff’s staff passed the church at 8am on Wednesday and realised they were missing.”
West Yorkshire Police have been informed. Anyone who may have heard or seen the thieves stealing the gates during Tuesday night should contact the police on 0113 285 5374.