The statue stolen from St Andrew's Church, Newton Kyme, Tadcaster.

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The 13 3/4in (35cm) high blackened stone head and face of John Fairfax was cemented in place near the altar inside the church and is valued at several thousand pounds.

It has incised facial features and hairline and stands on a 5 1/2in (14cm) square base, which is incised with the year 1613.

It appears to have been a planned theft, with the statue being carefully removed.

Any relevant information should be passed to PC Graham Smith of Sherburn-In-Elmet police station on 0845 6060247, quoting reference 12100005637.

Crimestoppers will take anonymous calls on 0800 555111.