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Local residents were left disgusted and baffled following an arson attack on a church in Burpham, Guildford at the weekend. Detectives in Guildford are appealing for information.
The incident happened during the early hours of Saturday (12 May) when offenders targeted the Church of the Holy Spirit in New Inn Lane sometime around 00.45am.
The suspects smashed a window in the back door of the church hall and managed to force their way into the main church building.
Hymn books, leaflets, a computer monitor a chair were put together in a pile and set alight. Offenders lit one of the candles on the altar, tore down a fire extinguisher and wrote on the floor. During the incident crockery and furniture were damaged.
Detective Inspector Andy Haslam said: “This sort of offence is truly despicable and it was purely by chance that someone noticed the smoke and alerted the fire service. I would urge anyone who saw anyone behaving suspiciously in the area around the church at the time of the offence to call Surrey Police on 101. You may have some information which could help us locate these criminals and bring them to justice. Surrey Police will not tolerate this type of attack on places of worship within our communities and will work ceaselessly to find those responsible.”
Temporary Neighbourhood Inspector Amy Buffoni said: “There are increased patrols in the area providing visible reassurance and officers will be available to speak with residents. Offences of this nature are rare in Guildford and I hope anyone who may have any details relating to the arson will contact Surrey Police and help us stamp out such crime.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference GD/12/4257 with any information. Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.