FOOD destined for the poor and needy was stolen from a church by burglars.
The intruders, who struck at St Augustine’s Church in Scissett, also moved the cross from the altar in an act that has been condemned as ‘disrespectful’.
The burglars who broke into the church on Busker Lane, ate biscuits and baked beans from the church’s harvest festival display, leaving the empty cans and packets strewn on the floor.
The remaining harvest festival food – donated by the church congregation and wider community – will go to the Welcome Centre in Huddersfield.
The charity offers practical help for individuals and families in crisis and provides food packs, toiletries, toiletries, home-starter packs, bedding, towels and clothes for anyone in immediate need.
Pc Sally Baines from the local neighbourhood policing team said: “To target a church, damage it, then handle and move important religious items about is totally disrespectful.”
The scene was discovered yesterday morning by a church warden and police believe the incident happened between last Thursday and yesterday.
They are now appealing to anyone who saw anything suspicious to come forward with information that may help them catch those responsible.
The Rev Joy Cousans said she was “shocked”.
The vicar, who also looks after All Saints Church in Clayton West, said: “I don’t know why they would do it. I think it’s a bit sad really that they chose to break into a church.”
Church warden Vivien Walker from Clayton West added: “They’ve smashed the windows and tampered with our harvest gifts.
“And we’re upset that they’ve moved the cross from the altar to the kitchen. Whether they were hoping to take that I don’t know.
“It is about 2ft high and quite heavy. It’s a small window and it was probably dark when they broke in so we don’t know.”
Mrs Walker said she thought whoever had broken into the church through a small window at the rear of the building, was “fooling around”.
The 64-year-old added: “When something like this happens it’s really hard to say why it was done. You don’t know what to think.”
Mrs Walker and the vicar set about clearing up the church last night and the smashed window was boarded-up.
Pc Baines said she was appealing to the local community to help them find the burglars.
She said: “Did anybody see anyone acting suspiciously in the area of the church between those dates or hanging around the church grounds?’’
Anyone with information should contact NPT on 0845 6060606. Your information could be vital.”