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

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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