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Stained glass window smashed in Co Tyrone church burglary

The broken stained glass window at St Theresa’s Church in Sion Mills. Picture by PSNI
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POLICE have appealed for information after thieves smashed a stained glass window to enter a Co Tyrone church.

St Theresa’s Church in Sion Mills was targeted overnight between Saturday and Sunday in an incident police believe could be linked to a series of burglaries in the area.

Officers have said the burglars cut themselves on glass during the burglary and "kindly left a blood sample for us to forensically examine".

A restaurant opposite the church, Restaurant 1861, was also broken into and two tills and an ATM reader were stolen, but later retrieved and are being examined. A glass display at the restaurant was also damaged.

In a post on social media, the restaurant said that it was "open for business as normal".

Andy Patton, from Sion Mills Community Forum, said residents were left disgusted by the break-ins.

Urging anyone with information to come forward, a PSNI spokesperson said: "A burglary, like any crime, is unacceptable but I'm sure you'll agree that in particular a burglary in a place of worship is particularly sickening and abhorrent."

In February 2017, burglars tried to target the parochial house at St Teresa's while a priest was celebrating Mass in the church.

On that occasion, Fr Peter McLaughlin was saying Saturday Vigil Mass while attempts were made to enter the house, causing damage to a window.

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