A fire which broke out at a church in Whitehead, Co Antrim is being treated as suspicious.
It happened at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Victoria Avenue at around 3.40am yesterday.
The blaze was discovered in the boiler house.
Police have asked for anyone who has any information on the incident to contact them.
Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson condemned the incident. He said damage was caused to an outer building and the chapel’s heating system.
“There can never be any justification for an attack on a place of worship,” said Mr Dickson.
“I know the local community will show their support and offer any help that is needed to repair any damage.
“I condemn this attack in the strongest possible manner. It has achieved nothing except to strengthen the resolve of a united church community in Whitehead.
“With only two days till Christmas services, it will cause a lot of disruption and distress to the congregation.
“If anybody has any information about this arson attack then I would urge them to contact the police.”
Parishioner Paddy Stewart said he was shocked that the church had been attacked.
“We were doing a lot of preparation of vigil mass and Christmas morning mass and the damage is such that the electrics and the heating system are out,” he told the BBC.
“All the suppliers are closed until after Christmas, so we’ve had a lot of other parishioners and helpers from different churches in Whitehead, we are a close community, moving furniture from the church into the local primary school, and we’ll have our mass there until we can get the church up and running again.”