Community devastated after burglars trash parish church

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A church community has been left devastated after burglars ransacked their building.

When wardens at St Paul’s Church in Alverthorpe opened up the site on Wednesday, they were horrified to discover a trail of damage. They said furniture had been overturned, cupboards had been searched, a wall had been daubed with graffiti and pictures had been tossed to one side.

Hymn books were strewn across the floor, a glass frame where a memorial book sits had been shattered, bricks had been pulled off a candle display at the Font and fizzy drink had been sprayed all over the furnishings.

Church warden and Wrenthorpe and Outwood West councillor Coun David Dews said: “We are sickened. It is a case of what has been taken is minor compared with the damage that has been caused. A group spent the afternoon cleaning up to put most things back to normal.

“It’s part of the community. People from all around have been expressing outrage at what happened.”

Debra Berryman, who helped with the clean up effort and whose mother-in-law regularly attends the church, said Communion wine, children’s sweets, a wheelchair and keys to the building were among the items that had been stolen.

She said: “There’s a lot of older people that go to this church and have been going for years. For them to go in and find the church like that, they are just absolutely devastated.”

A fundraising page has been launched to help raise £500 to pay for repairs. And the church has been inundated with support from the community.

Mrs Berryman said: “The kindness is overwhelming. People who we don’t even know have donated. It is heartwarming to think they are supporting a church that is struggling.”

Police said they received a report of a burglary at the church.

The incident took place between Sunday and Wednesday. Officers said suspects forced entry into the premises on St Paul’s Drive. Anyone with information should contact police via 101 quoting crime reference 13170495986.

To donate, visit gofundme.com/st-Pauls-church-vandalism-clean-up