24 Mar 2015

Pair charged with cathedral burglary

4:20 pm on 24 March 2015

Two men in Christchurch on a golf trip have been charged with burglary from the Christ Church Cathedral.

Security camera footage from Christ Church Cathedral on 21 March 2015.

Security camera footage from Christ Church Cathedral on 21 March 2015. Photo: SUPPLIED

Phillip Pavich, 55, and Gilbert Southworth, 46, both from Waikato, have been charged with breaking into the cathedral early on Saturday morning.

The pair appeared in Christchurch District Court on Saturday, and have been remanded on bail to reappear on 13 April.

Motion-activated cameras, installed in the earthquake-damaged building two weeks ago, recorded two men scaling the security fence, having a look around, and then leaving with a lectern.

Sergeant Greg Hume said police arrived as two men were leaving, and they were charged with burglary.

Mr Hume said the security fences were there for a reason.

"It is an extremely dangerous place - intruders really are taking their life into their own hands. It only takes another reasonable-sized earthquake and a lot more of that structure will come down."

Mr Hume said the day after the cameras were installed three intruders were caught stealing from the cathedral gift shop.

The Anglican Diocese appointed security expert Jason Notman to install cameras after "urban explorers" broke into the cathedral last year and took photos.

Mr Notman said the church had spent a lot of money erecting high security fences and putting up warning signs. He said even installing the cameras required precautions to be taken, as the building was so unsafe.

"I worked with two engineers to figure out the best places to put the cameras and where the safest place to enter the cathedral was."

An Anglican Diocese spokesperson said security was increased because of people scaling the fences, and to protect the church while decisions were being made on its future.