Churches placed on alert after break-ins
Clergy have been urged to be on their guard for thieves breaking into churches over Christmas.
The warning from the Church of Ireland came after a spate of burglaries.
Four churches in counties Down and Antrim fell foul of sneak thieves in the run-up to Christmas.
Money was stolen from St Malachy's Church in Hillsborough, Aghaderg Church in Loughbrickland and St John's Church, Dromara.
St Andrew's Church in Lisburn was targeted as well.
A Church of Ireland spokesperson said the robbers used specialist equipment to break into parish safes.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Down and Dromore said: "Following a recent spate of robberies on church premises, we have urged our clergy to be extra vigilant over the Christmas period.
"We are saddened to have been targeted in this way and hope that no further such incidents occur for us or for anyone else in this Christmas season and beyond."