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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 10:53 GMT
Woman priest receives hate mail
Reverend Yvonne Hobson
Reverend Yvonne Hobson is continuing her work as usual
Police are investigating a series of hate letters to a Cornish parish priest and a suspected arson attack at her home.

Since July, the Reverend Yvonne Hobson, 56, a curate at Paul Church, near Newlyn has received four letters expressing hatred about women priests.

In October church leaders called for a halt to the attacks.

Four weeks later a candle left alight in the porch of her home ignited some logs and the fire brigade was called.

'Great concern'

Ms Hobson, who has been a curate at the church since 2006, is continuing her work as usual, said the Diocese of Truro.

A spokesman for the diocese declined to comment further but urged anyone with information to contact the police.

A spokesman for the Devon and Cornwall force said the letters and the suspected arson attack were being investigated in parallel.

Rural Dean, the Reverend Andrew Wade, said in a statement which was read to the church's congregation in October: "This is a matter of great concern not just to Yvonne, her family and friends but to the whole church here and indeed the diocese."

There are 19 full-time women priests in Cornwall and 92 men. There are also 22 women working as unpaid members of the clergy.

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