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World News

'Bizarre' church burglary leaves pastor confused

by Lydia Davies

Fr Gerard Barry has been left deeply distressed following a burglary at St Joseph's Church in Blackburn, which led to significant damage and minor thefts. The church, alongside its presbytery and sacristy, suffered extensive damage, with the repairs expected to cost thousands.

"The amount of money they took, which couldn't have been much, is nothing compared to the damage," Fr Gerard told the Lancashire Telegraph.

Describing the scene, Fr Gerard said: "I can't describe how bad it was. I have been burgled many times but I have never seen such sheer, mindless vandalism."

The destruction included six doors smashed beyond repair and a safe forcibly opened.

Reflecting on the burglars' actions, Fr Gerard shared his disbelief at the length of time they must have spent wreaking havoc. "The person(s) responsible have spent hours causing as much damage as possible and it's a bit bizarre," he noted.

Even though valuable items like televisions were left untouched, the intruders made off with seemingly trivial items such as cans of Coke and chocolate eggs meant for children.

Despite his dismay at the senseless act, Fr Gerard maintained a perspective of compassion rather than anger towards the perpetrators. "I don't harbour any hatred; I just feel desperate for people who think this way of life is okay," he stated.

In response to the burglary that took place between 24th and 25th April, police are conducting investigations and seeking information from the public. Fr Gerard expressed gratitude for the community's support and highlighted a GoFundMe page established to help with restoration costs.

Expressing his appreciation for the solidarity shown by the community and authorities alike, Fr Gerard said: "I am so grateful for the police and CSI team. Many words of kindness have come our way."

He encouraged anyone with knowledge about the incident to assist police in their ongoing efforts to find those responsible.

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