AN antique church organ was completely dismantled when metal thieves ransacked the Grade II-listed building.

The break-in happened at Holy Trinity, in Mount Pleasant, Blackburn, when the thieves smashed a side window, took all of the organ’s internal metal parts and also snatched lead from the roof.

The gothic Anglican parish church, which is closed down, is now under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust because of its historic and cultural significnce.

Dawn Lancaster, from the trust, said the organ was thought to have come from the Hanover Square Rooms, London, where it was built in 1804. She said: “It is very sad that our heritage is being stolen and destroyed. These items are irreplaceable and are part of the story of Blackburn and of our national heritage.

“We are all made poorer by the actions of a few unscrupulous individuals.

“Therefore, we ask the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the police.”

The church was created in the 19th century by the architect Edmund Sharpe. It has a flat-timber ceiling with 80 painted heraldic panels, mostly commemorating families who contributed to the construction.

This is not the first time it has been hit by vandals, with York paving stones being taken during a spate of thefts last year.

PC Andy Ronga appealed for anyone with information about the latest theft, which happened between March 18 and April 29, to call police. He said: “It is a great shame this theft has happened, as the architectural significance of the beautiful Holy Trinity Church building is an important piece of Blackburn’s history.

“The church’s pipe organ has also been completely dismantled. I would also ask residents to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity near their churches and other places of worship, as we think they may be being targeted for their metal.”

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting LC-20140429-0403, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.