Carnmoney church defiant in wake of burglary bid
Members of Carnmoney Parish Church have been left "shocked and saddened" after damage was caused in a break-in.
Robert Campbell, a glebewarden at Newtownabbey based Church of the Holy Evangelists, praised parishioners for getting the building ready for worship as usual yesterday morning.
"It seems like someone has broken into the boiler house under the church and removed a powder fire extinguisher," he said.
"It appears they've tried to use that to break the lock on the door to the vestry, but it exploded.
"That caused a large burst of dust around the door and the steps, but the force was so powerful it filled the vestry by going under the door and through the lock. The whole of the vestry room was coated in dust."
"We can only assume those involved in trying to get in were also covered in the dust from the extinguisher. They left a lot of footprints and police now have all the details."
Mr Campbell said nothing was taken and described it as "an annoyance more than anything".
He added: "There would have been nothing there to take anyway, as we don't keep any valuables or cash in the safe.
"We hope none of those involved have been hurt as the force of the dust can cause difficulties.
"And we have to thank the parishioners who came out to clean up and replace the locks after they heard about the incident.
"Had it happened on Saturday, there's no way we would have been able to clear up in time for the Sunday services.
"We just don't understand why someone would try to do this. We're a community church and have little of financial value in there."
Police are appealing for information about the incident, which was reported on Friday.
Sergeant Chris Tate said: "We believe that entry was gained to the premises sometime between 8pm on Thursday night (June 14) and 12.45pm on Friday. Damage was caused to both the inside and outside of the church when padlocks were either cut or removed. Doors to both the boiler house and vestry were kicked and damaged with some type of implement. A fire extinguisher was also let off in the building.
"At the moment, it would appear that nothing was taken from the church."