POLICE investigations are continuing into a series of weekend break-ins at a church and restaurant in the village of Sion Mills.
Sometime overnight between Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning, St Theresa's Church and Restaurant 1861 – which is located in the historic Sion Stables across the street – were broken into. Detectives investigating the two incidents believe that they are linked.
Unsuccessful attempts were made to take cash from money boxes in the church but in order to gain entry a stained glass window was smashed and a blood sample found nearby is being forensically examined.
In a further development, searches of the area near the church on Monday uncovered bloodied cloths in a hedge which have also been sent away for analysis.
CCTV footage from the restaurant is also being scoured. Again, a window was broken to gain entry there and two tills and an ATM reader which were stolen were later recovered by police for forensic examination.
It is understood that the museum and the office at The Stables were also targeted with damage caused to a glass display case and a wooden cabinet.
Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), a PSNI spokesperson confirmed that enquiries into the burglaries are continuing but as yet, no arrests have been made.
“Those responsible gained entry by breaking a stained glass window. In doing so they've cut themselves and kindly left a blood sample for us to forensically examine. A burglary, like any crime, is unacceptable but in particular a burglary in a place of worship is particularly sickening and abhorrent.
“Restaurant 1861 opposite the chapel was also burgled. Two tills and an ATM reader were stolen however have subsequently been retrieved and are also being examined. A glass display has also been damaged,” a PSNI spokesperson said.