A BREAK in at a 135-year-old church has been described as ‘soul destroying’.

Burglars caused around £1200 worth of damage to St Leonard’s Church, Langho, during a raid on Saturday night.

Billington and Langho Community Centre, which is next door to the Whalley Street sanctuary, was also burgled between 8pm on Saturday and 12.30pm on Sunday.

Andrew Dixon, 46, who is one of the church wardens at St Leonard’s, described the incident as both ‘frustrating’ and ‘infuriating’.

The thieves broke in through the back of the church after smashing through a rear window, which Mr Dixon said was more than 100 years old.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The vestry, building attached to the church, was ransacked as the burglars broke a book stand while searching cupboards and drawers for valuables.

Choir gowns and old books were found by the burglars rather than the safe, Mr Dixon said.

Despite the burglars leaving empty handed the church warden was frustrated at the damage caused and said: “We had a window smashed and initial estimates suggest repairs costs will be substantial.”

The now boarded up back window, which has the words 'May God Forgive You' written on it, is expected to cost around £1200 to repair.

Mr Dixon, from Billington, said more than £300 had already been spent on changing the locks. He added: “Like all churches money is a problem. It’s soul destroying.”

Ribble Valley councillor Ged Mirfin, who represents the neighbouring ward, Old Langho, said: “They were never likely to break into the safe in the church but the issue is the damage that they have done.”

The Conservative councillor also said: “The people doing this come crawling in from outside the area, particularly from Manchester.”

Detectives visited the premises on Sunday morning as they looked for evidence, Mr Dixon said.

Anyone who has any information related to the incident should contact the police on 101 referencing log number 603 of January 20.