Thieves have stolen a historic artefact from a village church.

A wooden flute, in a glass case, was taken from the Holy Rood Church in Wool.

The Rev Judy Hill said: “The whole thing, the case and everything has been wrenched off the wall.

“We have had minor thefts in the past, but there is always brass on display and nobody tries to take that.

“We are at a bit of a loss to explain why the flute has been taken, as it is not thought to be worth much financially.”

The Reverend says it was first noticed that the flute was missing last Thursday, when the church was left open to the public.

The instrument, which dates back to the early 1800s, belonged to the church band before the organ was introduced.

It remained in the possession of the Runyard family, who were closely connected to the church, and was presented to Holy Rood in the display case in the early 1970s by Harry Runyard, who was the verger at the time.

Church warden Ken Baynton said: “The instrument has little financial value so why someone would want to steal it is beyond me, especially as it has such a historical connection to the church.

“We would certainly welcome its return.”

If you have any information contact Dorset Police on 01305 222 222, or Crimestop- pers on 0800 555 111.