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On-the-run vicar still at large

Published 25/07/2015

Church of England vicar Simon Reynolds was convicted of pocketing thousands of pounds of cash handed over as fees for weddings, funerals and graveyard memorials
Church of England vicar Simon Reynolds was convicted of pocketing thousands of pounds of cash handed over as fees for weddings, funerals and graveyard memorials

An on-the-run vicar who disappeared while waiting to be convicted of stealing thousands of pounds remains at large.

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 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 have alerted Interpol as it is feared the 50-year-old may have fled to mainland Europe. A police spokesman said today that he remains at large.

Senior clergy have 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.

Reynold's 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.

Reynolds is described as being around 5ft 10ins tall and of heavy build. He wears glasses and was last seen wearing a beige linen jacket and dark trousers.

South Yorkshire Police are asking anyone who may have seen Reynolds or knows where he is to contact 101 quoting incident number 864 of July 23 2015.

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