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"It's OK to shoplift" says Vicar

Anglican vicar Father Tim Jones has provoked furious reactions after advising less well off parishoners to steal from multiple retailers.

Father Tim Jones, vicar at the Church of St Lawrence in York, made the comments in his Sunday sermon. “My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift,” he reportedly said. “I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses but from large national businesses,” he added.

He said the advice did not break the Ten Commandments “because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.”

The British Retail Consortium reacted furiously to the vicar’s comments. “Shoplifting is wrong and it is not more or less wrong depending on who the victim is,” a spokesman said.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Neil Matthews

    I was astonished to read the comments of the Anglican priest who told his congregation to shoplift in the run up to Christmas. Is it any surprise that we, as a nation, are ranked number one in the European shoplifting league table, when respected members of society, such as Father Tim Jones, are openly encouraging criminal activity?

    Times are clearly tougher this year than they have been in the past, but that does not justify breaking the law. Almost every time I pick up a newspaper I read a story that refers to our so-called ‘broken society’ and Father Jones is just adding fuel to that fire. Shoplifting, as Anne McIntosh MP correctly says, is a crime against the whole community and whether you steal from a large retailer or a small family-run shop is irrelevant – it is addictive, once you start it is hard to stop until you are caught, and the more you do it the more you rely on it. What’s more, in extreme cases, shoplifting can lead to violence and intimidation of shop staff, hopefully Father Jones does not condone this too. Whatever the rationale behind this sermon, the fact remains that shoplifting is a criminal offence and it is totally irresponsible to preach messages of law breaking to anyone.

    Whilst I agree that more has to be done to help those less fortunate, turning to a life of crime is certainly not the way to tackle a problem. There are plenty of support networks out there that can provide alternative less self-demeaning ways of overcoming personal problems. I hope people dismiss Father Jones’ comments out of hand and if they are struggling financially, seek help through other means.

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  • What's up with Drapers deleting comments??? I've had two of my comments deleted from other pages that weren't offensive or unsuitable. Either you're providing a comments feature for people to make comments or you're not in which case don't bother having the comments feature at all. But don't be deleting comments that don't suck up to your advertisers or your biased agenda. Sickening.

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