Stained glass window broken during spate of church thefts

editorial image

A 250 year old stained glass window has been broken during a spate of break-ins at local churches.

St Malachy’s Hillsborough Parish Church was the latest of three churches broken into during the last week.

In one case a 250 year old stained glass window was shattered as the culprits attempted to enter the building.

Policing Board Member Jonathan Craig MLA has condemned those responsible for the spate of church break-ins throughout the rural areas of Lagan Valley.

“Churches are the heartbeat of our community and for so many who are living in the rural areas, their local church is a place of support, comfort and a life-line especially at this time of the year who feel isolated and alone,” said Mr Craig.

“I have spoken directly with the District Commander Chief Inspector Jonathan Wilson and have called for more Police resources to be put in place in the rural areas of Lagan Valley and I would ask all churches to make sure that where possible valuables are not kept in the church, I would also urge everyone to be vigilant at this time and report anything that looks suspicious to the PSNI.

“A small section of the community believe that no places are off limits, whether that’s attacks on the elderly or breaking into churches.

“As a community, working with the PSNI, we must catch those individuals who are a parasite on our community, causing so much destruction.”

Hillsborough Councillor Alexander Redpath said he was shocked to learn of the latest break-in. “This is an awful incident and I wish the parish well putting things aright,” he said.

“The parish provides an invaluable service to the community including recently taking a role in the Christmas lights celebrations. If anyone noticed any suspicious behaviour in the area please report this to the PSNI immediately.”