Parishioners 'shocked' after Co Antrim church damaged in attempted break-in
A Newtownabbey congregation has been left "shocked and saddened" after their church was damaged in an attempted break-in.
The vandals initially broke into a boiler room at The Church of the Holy Evangelists in Carnmoney Parish and stole a fire extinguisher.
They then used the fire extinguisher to attempt to break down the vestry door at the Church of Ireland premises before the fire extinguisher exploded.
The attempted break-in happened at around 12.45pm on Thursday night but was not discovered until just before lunchtime on Friday.
Robert Campbell, Glebe Warden, said the community had been left "shocked and saddened".
Mr Campbell said while there was only a "small amount of damage" but was concern for those behind the incident due to the fire extinguisher exploding.
"Those people who were trying to gain entry, they are bound to have been exposed to a high level of fire extinguisher dust which we are advised can have negative implications," he said.
"We didn't want them to come and do what they did, at the same time we would like to think they are ok health wise."
Mr Campbell said the community was "relieved" that only "limited" damage was caused.
"We were able to get it repaired Friday evening," he said.
Meanwhile, thieves who broke into a church in Co Down targeted a popular food bank.
Those who forced entry to Christ Church in Kilmore in the Kilmore and Inch Parish also caused "extensive damage" to the church and church hall.
It is believed the break-in took place on Monday, June 11.
On Facebook, Reverend Stephen Smyth said it was with "great sadness that we must report that we have experienced another burglary".
"It would appear that our Food Bank was the primary focus of attention," he said.
"This is a huge blow, especially as we are only just recovering from our 1st burglary, a little under a month ago. It is an incredible irony that people would break in and steal food when we are quite prepared to give it away to anyone in need.
"Our Food Bank has been running for four years and we would not have been able to provide over three hundred emergency food parcels last year without the support of individuals, local churches and community organisations."
Reverend Smyth added: "We would like to take the opportunity to express our grateful thanks to everyone who has supported our ministry and for their prayers, concerns and well wishes at this time."