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Dane banned from Ireland for church theft

A 61-year-old Danish tourist has been banned from Ireland after his self-admitted "bad idea" – stealing money from a church collection box.

Dane banned from Ireland for church theft
The Dane admitted to stealing the equivalent of 21,000 kroner from a church poor box. Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr
According to the Irish Independent, 61-year-old Jens Christiansen of Gråsten was found in a parked park in a secluded forest in the northern part of Ireland. When a police officer approached the vehicle, Christiansen was found counting a large amount of coins. 
 
“When he was asked where he had come across the money, he said he had brought it into Ireland in his hand luggage which wasn’t credible because there was so much of it. It had been bagged and marked,” Irish police detective Paul Lynch said in Carndonagh District Court, according to the Irish Independent. 
 
Lynch said that a search of Christiansen’s car turned up a collection box that had been reported stolen from a church in Buncrana, along with three screwdrivers, a hacksaw and a torch. 
 
According to the Irish Independent, police found 958.77 euro and £1,434 (around 21,000 kroner in total) – all in coins. 
 
Confronted by the find, Christiansen then admitted to stealing the collection box. 
 
In court, Christiansen’s response was short and to the point: “It was a bad idea. I am a tourist.”
 
Christiansen also told the judge that he is on disability at home in Denmark. Perhaps that led to the judge’s decision to allow Christiansen to keep 355 euro of the stolen money in order to return to Denmark on his October 27th flight. 
 
The judge’s leniency came with a catch however. Christiansen was given a three-month suspended jail sentence on the condition that the Dane not return to Ireland for a period of two years. 

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CHURCH

Denmark planning to reopen churches for Easter Sunday

Denmark's government is planning to open the way for limited church services over Easter, so that Christians can celebrate the resurrection, even during the coronavirus lockdown.

Denmark planning to reopen churches for Easter Sunday
In the Church of Denmark, those taking community traditionally drink from the same silver cup. Photo: Church of Denmark
If services go ahead, it will mark the first relaxation of the country's lockdown since it was imposed on March 11. 
 
“Easter is the most important celebration of the church year,” Denmark's church minister Joy Mogensen said in a press release. “This is especially the case during a sombre time when the Danes are looking for community and meaning, which is why the government is now working on a solution so that we can celebrate Easter in church in a responsible way.” 
 
Churches and church halls have been closed in Denmark since March 11, along with mosques, synagogues and other places of worship. 
 
 
But with the country set to begin gradually lifting its coronavirus restrictions after Easter, the leadership of the Church of Denmark is now holding discussions with the Danish Health Authority and the Church Ministry on how to safely allow services to proceed on Easter Sunday. 
 
The government gave no details on what a responsible church service might entail, or whether it would be possible for churchgoers to pray and sing together in church or to receive communion. 
 
In the National Church of Denmark, communion typically involves a long queue to go the alter where all who are receiving the sacrament drink sips of wine from the same cup. 
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