A VICAR whose robes were stolen from his car has thanked the public for their support.

Reverend Chris Bracegirdle had left the vehicle in the car park of Bolton Parish Church on Saturday afternoon but returned to find a window smashed and a number of items stolen.

He reached out to members of the public on social media asking people to keep an eye out for the missing cassock and was surprised when a couple found the holy garments dumped off Silverwell Street in Bolton town centre.

Rev Bracegirdle, the Vicar of Bolton, said he was surprised by the reach his messages had but "grateful" for the help and support of the community.

"People were very kind and supportive," he said.

"I got lots of kind messages from people saying I'm really sorry to hear what happened.

"I was quite impressed by how the message got out there. I can see the value when something like that happens of putting it out there and making sure people know these things have happened."

Ultimately, Rev Bracegirdle said the theft was simply "annoying".

He pointed to number of stolen items, such as his cars interlocking wheel nuts, which are not costly but would need to be replaced.

He added: "I got the important things back. It's the inconvenience really of the smashed windows and the wheel nuts I had stolen."

Despite the frustration, the vicar was quick to make light of his unfortunate situation.

He thanked supporters on Twitter, who shared his messages more than 100 times across the social network, and said he would be sending a card to say thank you to the attentive couple who found the missing robes.

He added: "Thanks for all your kind comments following today's theft from my car.

"Apart from the inconvenience and inevitable insurance excess, the biggest shock was digging out my old cassock that I haven't used for eight years and finding it's shrunk - clearly from under use."