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'We'll pray for you' says vicar after thieves ransack Sheffield church

St Mary's Church in Walkley
St Mary's Church in Walkley
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A vicar has told thieves who ransacked her church in Sheffield that the community will pray for them.

Crooks smashed their way into St Mary's Church in Walkley and searched through the building, creating an unholy mess.

While they are not believed to have stolen anything significant, the Reverend Melanie FitzGerald said the damage they caused had disrupted services and community groups using the building.

She said it was the third or fourth break-in during her 15 years at the church on Howard Road, with burglars having in the past mainly stolen biscuits and cakes after failing to find anything of great worth.

On this occasion, thieves raided the church on Tuesday night last week, breaking in through the kitchen door and scouring cupboards for valuables, but they also appear to have been disappointed as nothing of note is believed to have gone missing.

As well as creating a big mess to be cleared up and repairs to be made to the damaged door, they left the building freezing cold for those using it the next day - not just worshippers, but writers' and artists' groups.

The Reverend Melanie FitzGerald said: "We want whoever did this to know we will pray for them.

"Burglars seem to think churches have lots of valuables in them, which just isn't the case.

"All you're doing is creating an annoyance for an awful lot of people who use this building, none of whom have much money. Why bother?

"This building's for everybody, so rather than breaking in and harming the community why not come in through the front door next time and mix with the community?"

Nobody has been arrested in connection with the break-in, but the vicar said police are due to visit and review CCTV footage from the building.

Anybody with information is asked to call police on 101.