A 250-year-old sundial made from bronze is believed to have been stolen from St Matthew’s Church in Morley after it was reported missing.
The historic object was designed by renowned clockmaker and scientist John Whitehurst in 1762.
Church warden Sheila Randall said she was alerted to the disappearance of the instrument on Saturday evening by a friend who had visited the churchyard in the afternoon.
The sundial was mounted on the three foot tall shaft of an old stone cross where an inscription reads: “The Gift of The Rev Doc Wilmot, Rector of this Church 1762”.
Described as both “priceless and irreplaceable” by church warden Sheila, it is feared the sundial may have been stolen in order to be sold for scrap.
Police and scrap metal merchants have been alerted over the missing artefact.
Anyone with further information should call the police on 101.