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Church damaged by 'mindless' arsonists

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Damage to the roof of St Saviour’s Church in Craigavon

Damage to the roof of St Saviour’s Church in Craigavon

Damage to the roof of St Saviour’s Church in Craigavon

Police are investigating an arson attack on a Protestant church in Craigavon.

Officers were called to St Saviour's Church on Drumgor West Road at 4.20am yesterday.

It is believed that slates were removed from the roof of the premises before an object was set alight and dropped through.

Damage was caused to the inside of the property, but no was injured in the attack.

DUP MP Carla Lockhart hit out at the culprits.

"I am shocked to learn of this attack on a local place of worship," she said.

"Attacking a church that does so much positive work in the local community truly is reprehensible.

"Those who engage in such mindless behaviour contribute nothing to our society but hurt and harm.

"I urge the community to work alongside the PSNI to being the perpetrators to justice."

She added that the parishioners were "determined not to let this deter their Christian witness in the local area".

DUP councillor Margaret Tinsley said: "This is a shocking incident and my thoughts are with the Rector and congregation.

"A church is a place of sanctuary and hope for many.

"I know this attack will cause much upset to many people in the local community."

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie added: "It is scarcely credible that anyone would set out to remove roof slates and then attempt to set fire to any place of worship, but that is exactly what has happened in Craigavon this morning.

"There is no excuse whatsoever for this kind of behaviour.

"Regardless of whether the motivation is sectarianism or vandalism, the person or persons responsible needs to be caught and made amenable for the crime."

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly described the attack as "utterly disgraceful".

"Significant damage has been caused to this property and it is lucky that nobody was injured," she said.

"Causing criminal damage to a church that does such positive work in the community is appalling and I condemn it completely.

"Those behind such reckless acts have no support and they must have more regard for their community."

Alliance councillor Eoin Tennyson said it was an "act of hate".

"This was a shocking and disgusting attack on a place of worship," he added.

"Everyone should be free to attend their place of worship without fear of intimidation."

Belfast Telegraph