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The Bishop of Lincoln had two episcopal rings stolen from his London home by a serial burglar who posed as an estate agent to gain entry to the property, the Telegraph can reveal.
Christopher Lowson was away from his £1 million flat, yards from Westminster Cathedral, in October last year when convicted thief Costas Michael took jewellery from his desk drawer.
On Tuesday, Michael, 40, admitted two counts of burglary at Westminster Magistrates Court after raiding a neighbouring home for a watch, two credit cards and another ring on the same day.
In total, he stole £7,300 worth of valuables from both properties. At the time of his offences Michael had absconded from an open prison, the court was told.
The 40-year-old had resided at HMP Ford after he was sentenced to 44 months in prison for multiple burglary offences in June 2019.
Prosecutor Jonathan Bryan said: "These offences were both committed on the same date, and in the same place. He posed as an estate agent to get the keys to the property, let himself in, then burgled the properties.
"He has numerous offences on his record for domestic burglaries."
Michael was due to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday but the hearing was adjourned until June 18, he is on remand at Pentonville prison.
Bishop Lowson was not named as a victim of Michael but confirmed his property had been broken into when approached by this newspaper.
He told the Telegraph: "Like anyone who has been burgled there is obviously some distress that your home has been violated in this way."
He said the episcopal rings, traditionally given to bishops at their consecration, had since been replaced after he sought help from his local jeweller.
"In this instance I can only thank the police, and particularly PC Colin White of the Central London Burglary Team, for their careful and assiduous work in tracking down the alleged burglar and keeping us informed at every step in the process," Bishop Lowson added.
In May 2019, the 68-year-old, previously a vicar at Westminster Abbey, became the first bishop to be suspended in modern times amid allegations he "failed to respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures" regarding children and vulnerable people.
In February, the Telegraph reported Bishop Lowson had been cleared to officiate after his 20-month suspension was lifted, as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologised to him for his "ordeal".
Following his reinstatement, Bishop Lowson issued a statement to Lincolnshire Live in which he offered an "unreserved apology" and said that he has "always sought to take safeguarding matters extremely seriously."
In 2019, Michael Costas was among 38 wanted individuals who had their faces plastered on vans being driven around London in a Met Police appeal for information relating to those wanted and their crimes, which were predominantly street robberies and burglaries.
The British Cypriot's mugshot was released by the Met as part of their 'Operation Venice', and driven through the city when he was wanted for 'multiple burglaries' committed in the Westminster area in 2017.
It is believed that Michael claimed to be an employee of a maintenance company to gain access to a number of properties and steal several items.
Chief Inspector Jim Corbett, from Operation Venice, said: "These offenders have callously robbed, stolen or burgled from communities, commuters and tourists within London, often using violence and weapons, for their own financial gain."