A REVEREND whose church was burgled at the weekend says the disruption caused by the thefts is nothing compared to the hurt it has caused to the community.

Thieves struck at St Peter’s Church on Broad Oak Road in Parr in a night time raid.

A brass bible stand and collection plate were stolen but the church safe, which crooks attempted to steal, was found locked still on the grounds.

Sunday services were cancelled as volunteers cleaned up after the burglary.

Reverend Neil McCathie, who has been at the church for five years, said: “Many people in this community value the church.

“A number of people are part of the church who care for it and give money to keep it going.

“They also give a lot of time.

“Many of them are retired. People volunteer for the church because they care for it, so there is a real sense of loss.

“St Peter’s Church is liked by the community. In my time here for many people the church is a place they turn to because it’s significant to them.

“For some it’s a place where they have suffered a loss.

“But it is regrettable that there are some people around who cause that sort of hurt for what would appear to be a relatively small amount of personal gain.”

Rev McCathie said he was unaware of the value of the stolen items.

He said: “Crime in this area is a problem we are aware of and we take what precautions we reasonably can.”

The crooks targeted the church between 9pm on Saturday, July 19 and 9am on Sunday, July 20.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Unsworth said: “It defies belief that someone has targeted the church, which is a focal point of the community.”

Although services were cancelled on Sunday, Rev McCathie says further services will go ahead.

Contact St Helens CID on 0151 777 6013 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.