Belfast Telegraph

We're reviewing security and locking doors, that's not what a church should have to do, says minister after thieves strike

By Jonathan Bell

The minister of a church targeted by thieves has said security will be reviewed and doors locked after the first crime on it in at least 30 years.

"Locking doors is not something we want to do, we want to be open to everyone, but there is a lack of honour and respect now in our society that makes a church a target," said the Reverend David Cupples.

His church, Enniskillen Presbyterian, was targeted sometime between Sunday and Thursday. Thieves got into an office in the church hall, the Bridge Centre, forcing a locked drawer open taking a cash box.

Police, described the theft as “particularly shameful”. It's thought to be one of a recent spate of burglaries from churches around the district.

Rev. Cupples estimates around £50 of petty cash was in the box and the church used the money for sundry everyday items needed during the course of a day's work.

While he said the amount was "insignificant" in terms of the overall turnover of the church, Rev Cupples said the organisation used money raised to pay for its running costs with everything else going to good causes in Northern Ireland and around the world.

"That is the type of person we are dealing with. Totally disrespectful," Rev. Cupples added.

"In my 30 years at the church we have never had a break-in, theft or vandalism. What this has meant is that we are having to review our security. For instance in our church hall we are having to lock the doors while meetings are going on and then people wanting in will have to ring a bell.

"A church should not have to lock its doors to anyone, it is not a message we want to send out but it is a measure we are having to take."

Police are appealing for information and Rev. Cupples urged anyone that may have seen something suspicious at the time to contact the PSNI.

Stealing is always wrong but it is particularly shameful when someone makes a decision to enter a church to do it. We...

Posted by PSNI Fermanagh on Friday, January 12, 2018

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