BURGLARS have ben branded despicable and disgusting for leaving a church facing a repair bill of up to £10,000 for the sake of a haul of a few pounds stolen from collection boxes.
The thieves broke into St John’s Church in Bedlington Station between 4am and 8.15am on Saturday, March 19, causing extensive damage.
They got into the North View church by smashing a hand-painted stained-glass window depicting St Cuthbert.
Churchwarden Eve Bain said: “I feel sick and very distressed, and we all feel the church has been violated. We actually held a cleansing ceremony.
“It was pretty horrific when you come in and the church has been broken into, and you see all the damage they have caused.”
Eve, 66, estimates the window will cost around £5,000 to fix, but the final repair bill could run to thousands of pounds more .
The thieves also caused damage to internal vestry doors and other items inside the church, before making off with charity boxes containing a small amount of cash.
Eve added: “We don’t understand why anyone would want to break into a parish church.
“It was lucky I had emptied the charity boxes just a week before, so they won’t have got a lot.
“We have been raising money for the last year because we need a new roof that is going to cost around £120,000. We hope the money we’ve spent so long raising won’t have to go on this.”
Inspector Sandra Davies, of Bedlington’s neighbourhood police team, said: “It’s just despicable that anyone would do this to a church.
“Whoever has done this has caused substantial damage to a very expensive and treasured stained-glass window – all for the sake of a couple of pounds. It’s just disgusting.”
“We’re doing all we can to trace the person or people responsible, and I’d urge anyone who knows who is responsible for this crime to get in touch as soon as possible.”
Potential witnesses are asked to call police on 03456 043043 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.