Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Church ransacked and stained glass window smashed in overnight burglary

A stained glass window was smashed and a number of items stolen in an overnight burglary of a church in Newtownhamilton.

The robbery occurred on Friday night last when intruders forced their way into St. Michael’s church on the outskirts of the town.  The culprits ransacked the interior of the building and smashed the distinctive stained glass window before making off with a number of vacuum cleaners.

Police say the incident happened sometime between 8:30pm on Friday and 9:00am on Saturday.  Appealing for information, Constable Tim Coombs said: “We would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area, or anyone who may have seen someone walking near the church carrying tools or the stolen vacuum cleaners to contact police in Newtownahamilton on 101 quoting reference number 306 of 13/04/19.

“We would also be interested in any dashcam footage showing vehicles parked in the lay-by close to the church on the Dundalk Road.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Barra Ó Muirí described the burglary as “a despicable act”, adding that parishioners are extremely upset at the attack on their place of worship.

“An attack on St Michael’s [church] is viewed by most as an attack on the whole community,” he said.  “This is a despicable act. Those engaged in this type of criminal activity need to be apprehended and be brought before the courts. Anyone with information should contact the PSNI immediately.”