Concern over violent threats in letter sent to Sheffield church

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Children were kept away from mass at a Sheffield church today after violent threats aimed at the congregation were made in a letter.

The threatening letter was sent to St Mary’s Catholic Church in High Green on Friday and has been reported to South Yorkshire Police

St Mary's Catholic Church

St Mary's Catholic Church

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Father Andrew Greene confirmed that the letter has been reported to South Yorkshire Police.

“It is in the hands of the police,” he said.

“We are disappointed that it has been sent and is obviously causing fear, worry and anxiety.

“We don’t know why someone would do this.”

Staff at neighbouring St Mary’s Catholic Primary School were informed of the content of the letter and a decision was made not to take pupils to a church mass this morning.

A letter sent to parents last night, written by headteacher Alexandra Healy and chair of governors, Peter Mason, says: “As you may be aware, over the weekend St Mary’s Church received a very unpleasant letter and understandably this has created concern within our community.

“Due to the current situation, the chair of governors and I, in consultation with Father Andrew,  have taken the precautionary decision that the children will not attend parish mass tomorrow to celebrate the feast of Epiphany.

“As you will appreciate this is not an easy decision to have taken but the children’s safety must be our priority.

“However, there will be a liturgy in school for the children to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany.

“In line with advice from the police, I ask that you remain vigilant and report any concerns.”

A woman who attends the church and has a child at the school said: “It is sickening and worrying.

“I have contacted South Yorkshire Police and they do not seem threatened by it but parents and the community do feel threatened and we want reassurance that measures are being put in place and that this is being taken seriously.

“Even if the risk is assessed as low, it is a risk nevertheless and needs addressed.”

South Yorkshire Police confirmed the incident has been reported and ‘enquiries are ongoing’.

Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.