Pasta protest against vicar who condoned shoplifting

A Yorkshire priest who caused controversy this month by preaching that shoplifting could sometimes be justified has had a bucket of pasta thrown over him by an irate parishioner.

Shortly before Christmas, Father Tim Jones gave a sermon in which he suggested that the desperately poor should consider shoplifting from supermarkets if it stopped them from committing violent crimes or burglary against members of the public.

His comments were met with a storm of criticism from fellow clergymen, police and politicians alike. But one York local, 48-year-old Martin Stot, took matters into his own hands and threw the pasta over the priest as he left church on Sunday afternoon.

"I was just offended by what he said," Mr Stot told the York Press. "I just got this thing in my head where I thought I would make my own little protest."

Speaking to The Independent last night, Father Jones said he had been "frightened and humbled" by the experience. "In conversation with the man afterwards, it emerged that his has been a very hard life indeed," he said. But the priest stood by his original sermon. "Saying we should help the poor is an utterly unremarkable view that is fundamental to Christian teaching, and I am startled at how much interest has been generated by my sermon."

David Wilbourne, assistant bishop of Llandaff, said: "The prospect of breaking any of the commandments makes one feel soiled and unworthy, missing what God intends for his creation," he wrote. "Tim made it clear that contemplating any form of theft was horrendous, but equally horrendous was the fact that any child of God should be driven to contemplate crime in order to exist."

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