Keble students have been warned to remain vigilant after intruders broke in and stole a valuable candlestick from the college chapel in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The theft was accompanied by a noise disturbance as the intruders reportedly tried to open several doors of second year students, before promptly leaving the site.

The large candlestick, described by the college as a “very valuable item”, had been on display in front of the college chapel’s war memorial.

After the theft, the candlestick was subsequently found and returned to the college in what Senior Dean Stephen Payne described as a “seriously damaged condition”.

At present, both Payne and college Chaplain Jennifer Strawbridge have refused to comment further on the incident as investigations are still currently underway. However, in an email sent around the college on Friday, the Dean described the theft as one of “several incidents in college” in the early hours of Thursday morning. Payne was also thankful that “no-one was hurt”, as the college continues to treat the situation as a serious breach of security.

Much of the student body remains in the dark about the theft of the candle. JCR member Andrew Hall commented that “the student body in general (myself included) does not really seem to know what happened”, only informing Cherwell that the candle was “returned the next day”.

The college and its members have, however, flatly refused the notion that its own students were involved.

The incident has not yet been traced to any disturbance from within college. Keble rowing captain Paolo Spingardi explained, “That night the rowers didn’t have a crewdate going on,” explaining that the Keble crewdates that took place last week happened on Thursday evening, not Wednesday.

Speaking on behalf of his rowers, Spingardi continued, “I am certain that none of them would have stolen a candlestick from church.”

Spingardi also shared the shock and confusion of his fellow Keble students, agreeing that “this was an awful and sickening event and I struggle to think who would think this was ever a good idea.”

Keble JCR president Sean Ford was quick to quash any suggestion that Keble students were involved, telling Cherwell that he was “almost certain” that it was someone from outside of the college.

Ford told Cherwell that at this point he didn’t think the police would be getting involved. However, the Dean has subsequently told students to take extra security measures. In his email to the college, he stated that “If any locks are not working properly, please report them as soon as possible”, and that “If you are propping or wedging doors open, please stop.”

The theft appears to be the subject of much rumour and speculation, and will continue to be so while the college’s investigation continues.