Theft of communion plates from NI church 'a despicable act'

Irvinestown Presbyterian Church. Pic by Google
Irvinestown Presbyterian Church. Pic by Google
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The theft of a number of silver communion plates from Irvinestown Presbyterian Church has been branded "disgusting" and "a despicable act".

A 50-inch LG television valued at around £1,200 was also stolen during the burglary, which is thought to have occurred some time between noon on Sunday and 10am on Monday.

According to church officials, a hatchet believed to have belonged to the thief was found lying close to where the items were stolen.

John Dickey, the church's clerk of session, said people in the Co Fermanagh town were "disgusted" by the theft, and he appealed for anyone with information about the burglary to contact police.

Revealing that the communion plates were gifted to the church by two local families and were of "great sentimental value", he commented: "People in the town are absolutely disgusted by this invasion on the church and the theft of these items - it is a real low. The decent thing for this individual to do would be to give the plates back."

He added: "The most worrying thing is that this individual came to the church armed with a hatchet, so I suppose we are fortunate that no one ran into him."

Local Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton said the theft of the communion plates was "a despicable act."

“Some people have no shame at all when they stoop to this level to steal communion plates from a church," she said.

“Thankfully this is a close-knit community, I’m sure that support for the church family will be forthcoming from a wide spectrum of the public.

“If anyone has information on the theft they should provide it to the PSNI.”

Police officers investigating the burglary at the Mill Street church have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“The communion plates are of immense personal value to the church and we’re appealing to anyone with information to get in touch. We would also like to hear from anyone who is offered such items for sale in unusual circumstances," said Constable Noble.

“Please contact us on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 368 of 20/05/19. Alternatively, information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."