Stained glass windows smashed during bungled break-in of West Hampstead church

Fr Andrew Foreshew-Cain, vicar at St James' church

Fr Andrew Foreshew-Cain, vicar at St James' church - Credit: Archant

A church in West Hampstead has suffered thousands of pounds worth of damage after a failed break-in saw precious stained glass windows smashed to pieces.

The criminals targeted St James’ in Sherriff Road at about midnight last night in what was thought to be an attempted theft from the church’s newly opened Post Office.

Thanks to a newly-installed security system, however, the bungled break-in saw the assailants run away empty handed.

But their acts did leave thousands of pounds worth of damage to the church’s main stained glass window.

Fr Andrew Foreshew-Cain, the church’s vicar, described the act as “very foolish”.

He said: “They tried to cut into the Post Office, which is enclosed in a reinforced box, so they must have been in to look at the layout first.

“But we’ve got so many alarms here they’d never have been able to steal anything - the police came within five minutes of them going off.

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“St James has some particularly precious stained glass windows so it’s a real shame to see the damage.

“It will have to be repaired by a specialist.”

The Post Office saw its official opening at the church in August.