Damage at Willingdon church

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Intruders left a trail of destruction after a break-in at a church last weekend.

A stained glass window at St Mary’s Church at Willingdon was damaged by the intruder, who officials believe was scared off after the alarm was raised by priest in charge, Reverend Kevin Agnew.

The break-in happened at around 11pm on Saturday June 2.

Church warden Iona Taylor said Reverend Agnew had just returned home – to the vicarage next door to the church – from a parish function when he heard the security alarms sounding in the church.

She said, “The church was in total darkness and Reverend Agnew quietly unlocked the main door having no idea what he would find.

“On entering the church and putting on the lights he found that one of the stained glass windows off the north aisle had been smashed by an intruder who had gained entry into the church.

“Further examination of the church showed the vestry door has also been opened and the back door to the church unlocked. A further locked door that leads from the vestry into the church office area had also been forced open.

“As Reverend Agnew had arrived so quickly after the alarms had sounded, it is thought he may have scared the intruders into escaping from the church via the back door.

“Damage to the leaded stained glass window, dedicated to St Michael, is significant as the frame had been levered.”

Police are investigating and appealing for witnesses.

Electronic security at the church has been enhanced and repairs are underway.