A BROMSGROVE vicar says he is pleased an historic bell stolen last year has now been replaced.

Last October the Advertiser reported on the theft of the bell from the roof of St Michael's CE Church in Cofton Lane.

In the incident the offenders unhooked the bell, which dated back to 1852, from the belfry and threw it down to the ground.

Prior to the theft the bell and a second that dates back even further to the 1700s, were rung every Sunday.

At the time PC Tim Burling, from West Mercia Police, said the theft had outraged Cofton Hackett residents.

A fundraising drive successfully raised the money needed to have a new bell cast, and it was installed on March 21.

The new bell was rung for the first time a day later, for the wedding at St Michael's of a former church warden.

The church's vicar, Reverend Rob Fieldson, said: "It is wonderful to see the new bell in position and to be able to ring it again for services.

"It looks beautiful.

"It is frustrating it cost about £10,000 to replace the old bell, which would have raised £100 in scrap. But we are very grateful that people, including members of the congregation, contributed towards raising the money."

Mr Fieldson explained that the church acted last October to deter thieves from stealing the other bell.

Among the measures that have been installed is the introduction of anti-climb paint, and bolts and metal plates that would make it difficult to shear through and remove the bell.

"Further security precautions have been added so we hope it is here to stay this time," he said.