Oxfordshire: Stolen Baby Jesus returned to church manger after Christmas nativity scene theft

231221-baby jesus returned to oxfordshire church
After a change of heart, the Jesus doll was returned to the church's nativity scene. Credit: Benefice of Witney

A Baby Jesus doll has been returned to an Oxfordshire church's nativity scene after it was stolen earlier this week.

Thieves stole the figure from outside St Mary's Church in Witney overnight between Sunday.

But after an apparent change of heart, the doll now been returned to its straw-filled manger.

Thames Valley Police tweeted a public appeal following the theft, asking people to 'keep their eyes peeled'.

Now that he has been returned, the church says it is just in time for its 6pm Christmas Eve carols on the green.

A spokesperson said: "We are delighted that the baby Jesus is back in the manger. It reminds us that even in difficult times when God seems absent, God always returns and never abandons us!"

It is not the only time this year that thieves have targeted nativity scenes.

In Preston, Lancashire, a Baby Jesus statue was stolen from a nativity scene with a 50-year history.

The doll was later found and returned to the manger.