ANNIVERSARY celebrations at a Burton church turned sour as the congregation arrived to find it had been broken into, with crooks causing a considerable amount of damage.
A clean-up operation is under way at St Thomas’s Methodist Church, in Belvedere Road, Horninglow, after raiders forced their way in through the roof on Saturday night.
The offenders rifled through cupboards and drawers, but fortunately nothing of significant value had been left inside.
A Dyson vacuum cleaner was stolen but has since been retrieved, as it was found dumped in a nearby street.
But church leaders have been left with the headache of repairing the damage, and they fear the bill could run to a considerable sum.
They have also warned other churches to be on their guard against the threat of thieves.
The burglars struck ahead of one of the most eagerly anticipated days on the church’s calendar, with this year marking 107 years since it was built.
The church’s superintendent minister, Reverend Mike Redshaw, told the Mail: “We hope we will be able to claim most of it on insurance, but then you’re facing increased insurance premiums and, like most churches, we don’t find it easy to keep going, so it’s a bit of a blow.
“Speaking from previous experience, sometimes they move on to other places thinking they are going to find something valuable, so I want to warn other churches.”
Rev Redshaw added he was proud of church members who had helped with the clean-up, and said they had ‘forgiven’ those responsible.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101.