A PRIDE flag showing support for the LGBTQ+ community has been repeatedly stolen from outside a Leigh methodist church.

Leigh Wesley Methodist Church, in Elm Road, proudly displays the rainbow coloured Pride flag outside the building as a sign of support and unity.

However, the flag has now been stolen twice and has been repeatedly pulled down – sparking a police appeal for information.

The church has put the flag back up each time after it has been removed, only to see it stolen again.

Essex Police has now issued CCTV images of two men they believe could have information or help them with the investigation.

Several thefts have been reported between May 10 and May 25.

Sam Adams, Southend pride chair, has called the thefts “disgusting and reprehensible” and believes the thefts show the importance of June’s Pride Month.

She said: “The church is trying to provide some support for inclusivity and for someone to take the flag time after time is disgusting and really shows why pride is still needed, as people like this still exist in our communities and cities.

“The church’s flag being consistently taken is reprehensible, churches have historically played a part in hurting the gay community and to see them punished for trying to be more welcoming is really, just disgusting.”

On May 13, the church took to Facebook to say the flag had been torn down “four times this week alone”.

A police spokesman said: “Officers want to speak to two people in connection with the repeated theft of a flag from outside a church in Leigh.

“The incidents took place outside Leigh Wesley Methodist Church, in Elm Road.

“Thefts have been reported on several occasions between Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 25 and we are continuing our investigation.

“If you have any information, CCTV, dash cam or other footage in relation to this incident, then please get in contact with us.

“Please quote reference 42/81507/24.

“You can let us know by submitting a report on our website or by using our online Live Chat service available Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) between 10am-9pm.

“Alternatively you can call us on 101.”