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Leicester: 'Devastation' after break-ins at places of worship

Faith leaders have spoken of the devastation caused by a recent spate of break-ins at places of worship in east Leicester.

The Reverend Sunny George says the community has been "badly impacted"

Leicestershire Police confirmed seven reports between 21 January and 26 February.

Churches, mosques and temples were all targeted in what police describe as "a concerning series of incidents".

Religious representatives have expressed their sadness that the places of worship have been "violated".

A lock was broken off at All Saints Church

All Saints Church in Kerrysdale Avenue, Belgrave, was broken into on 23 January, with the thieves taking a television, laptop and a £1,000 donation to its food pantry, which has supported vulnerable members of the community for three years.

The Reverend Sunny George said: "We lost not only monetarily, but it's confidence that we have lost. It was a very devastating experience."

He said 40% of the congregation are from other faith backgrounds.

"They have the utmost respect for this place," Mr George added. "So they think the place has been desecrated, violated."

Mosques were also among the places of worship that suffered from the break-ins.

Suleman Nagdi, a spokesperson for the Federation of Muslim Organisations, said: "What we had is a number of places of worship that have been attacked, from the Muslim community, the Hindu community and the Christian community.

"A place of worship is a place of sanctuary, where people find peace, harmony, and to think it's been violated, is a terrible issue."

Mr Nagdi added that the break-ins constituted a "desecration of a holy space" and that such a space is "the last place we expect to be burgled".

He said: "That in itself I think is more upsetting to people. It's not just a matter of a few pounds that have disappeared but actually violating a place of worship, what we believe is God's home, where we think of God, I think is absolutely unacceptable.

"I don't think it's a focus on one particular faith community, it's across the board."

Mr Nagdi and Mr George both confirmed that additional security measures had been added.

Sgt Sian Harris-Ley, of Leicestershire Police, reassured those affected and the wider community that Leicestershire Police is thoroughly investigating each incident, and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.


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