Belfast Telegraph

Priest confronted by thug in Glenavy parochial house

By Eamonn Sweeney

A priest in a Co Antrim village was subjected to a frightening ordeal after being confronted by a masked intruder at his home.

The parochial house on the Glen Road at Glenavy belonging to St Joseph’s Church was targeted at around 9pm on Tuesday night.

Police are treating the incident as an aggravated burglary.

The masked man forced entry to the property and demanded money, but nothing was taken during the incident and the priest was not injured.

SDLP councillor for the area on Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council, Connor Quinn, said: “Obviously I am very disturbed by this and I utterly condemn it.

“I haven’t spoken to the priest as yet but I will be visiting him. More has to be done to protect people in rural communities from this type of incident.”

And, DUP councillor Thomas Beckett urged anyone with information to bring it to the police.

“I know this priest and he is an absolute gentleman,” he said.

“Of course it’s not the type of thing we want to see in any community but especially in Glenavy, which is a very tight-knit community.

“No one in their right mind from here would carry out an attack, especially on a priest, so perhaps it was someone from outside the area,” he said.

The PSNI issued an appeal for information about the incident.

Detective Sergeant McIntosh said: “The suspect is described as being between 5ft 6ins and 5ft 8ins in height and was wearing a dark-coloured overcoat and Wellington boots.

“We are appealing to anyone in the Chapel Road between 8.45-9.10pm on Tuesday night and who noticed any suspicious activity, or has information that may assist our investigation to contact detectives in Lisburn on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1609 with the date 31/10/17, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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