Two Havering churches broken into in one night

Margaret Clifton with smashed door frame

Margaret Clifton with smashed door frame - Credit: Archant

A trustee says she “burst into tears” when she saw the church had been broken into just hours after a burglary at another place of worship .

Door damaged by burglars

Door damaged by burglars - Credit: Archant

Margaret Clifton, church secretary and trustee of Romford Christian Spiritualist Church, St Edward’s Way, was in disbelief when she was woken up at 7am by a phone call from a police officer informing her of the break-in.

She said: “When he rang I went straight down to the church and saw the doors on its hinges.

“I burst into tears because it is heartbreaking to see that people are capable of doing horrible things even to a place of worship.”

Margaret found Bibles and hymn sheets scattered across the floor.

She then discovered £30 given to the church by the congregation had been stolen.

“It isn’t a lot of money so I don’t understand why anyone would go to so much effort,” Margaret said.

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“What kind of person would do this?”

A few hours earlier, St John and St Matthew Parish Church of South Hornchurch, South End Road, Rainham, also suffered at the hands of intruders.

The Rev Anthony Burford stayed late at the church when he heard loud noises coming from the other side of the hall.

He said: “I shouted out and asked who was there and someone said they needed somewhere to sleep but it sounded like they were trying to break into my office.

“I called the police while they were still there and made sure that they heard me – that’s when they ran off.

“They didn’t steal anything but broke windows and a couple of doors.

“We are a big part of the community here so it is horrible for many people.

“I want people in the area to be vigilant so we can try and keep ourselves safe.”

Police are investigating both burglaries.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.