Stained glass windows left shattered after attempted break-in at Chorley church

St Laurence's church vicar described the incident as "sad and disheartening" after oldest parts of the church were left badly damaged.

By James Holt
Thursday, 18th June 2020, 3:45 pm

The church, on Union Street, Chorley, suffered costly damage after falling victim to an attempted break in between Saturday and Monday.

The oldest part of the church, the stained glass windows, were left shattered after "a great deal of force" had been used to try and break in to the 18th Century building.

As the church prepared to re-open after months of closure, the damaged window has been boarded up for security and safety reasons.

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Father Neil was preparing to re-open the church to the community.

Father Neil Kelley said: "It is so sad and disheartening to see the damage that has been caused to the building by an attempted break in. This beautiful window forms part of the oldest area of our church building, just to the left of the altar.

"Someone has climbed on to the roof and had attempted to push in one of the stained glass windows to gain entry into the church. They used a great deal of force because the windows are very tightly secured into place.

"It has created a lot of damage and mess, it's really sad to see the church be treated in this way."

Despite the church doors being closed since March, the members and volunteers have continued to serve the community five days a week, offering meals to the homeless in the church grounds, supporting those in hardship and providing emergency food parcels.

The stained glass window, boarded up for safety and security.

"People haven't been able to come to church since the middle of March because of the lockdown, so we haven't been able to hold funeral services or offer a space for people to pray," said Father Neil.

"I know people in the community have been looking forward to the church opening again, so it is really sad that it has come to this just as we were hoping to open. It feels like a kick to find out this has happened.

"There are professional firms who deal with stained glass windows, but it is an expensive process. Our main focus now is to get the church tidy again and make the building safe so that we can open once again for prayer."

After photos of the damage were shared to Facebook, members of the local community were eager to express their views.

St Laurences Church, Chorley

One user wrote: "When people have been doing good and feeding the vulnerable from this lovely church, and then this happens, the people responsible should hang their heads in shame."

Another commented: "That’s really sad. I hope and pray that those responsible come to reflect on their actions and learn to give and love rather than hate and break."

Developments are now underway to refurbish the windows and work towards getting the church re-opened for the local community.

The Lancashire Police confirmed the incident had been reported, but indicated they do not know any more information at this time.

They added: "If anyone has any information about it, they can call us on 101 and quote the log number 794 of June 16th."