A priest in Belfast was left terrified after an axe-wielding gang broke into his parochial home.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, the incident occurred in the early hours of this morning when the home of the priest at Ligoniel’s St Vincent de Paul Church was broken into.
The Diocese of Down and Connor confirmed a number of men gained entry to the home of the priest, who was woken by the noise of the intruders.
The diocese released a statement in which they said: "The parish priest has been left very distressed and traumatised by this experience. He has received many messages of support from parishioners, clergy, community representatives and members of the local community. He is assisting the PSNI with their investigations."
The men fled the scene after being disturbed by the priest, and were long gone by the time members of the PSNI arrived.
Sinn Fein Councillor Ryan Murphy described it as "a terrifying incident for the priest" and said he is "relieved that he wasn’t hurt in the incident".
“The raiders ran off after being disturbed by the priest who had wakened during the break in," he added.
“The thieves stole car keys for the priest’s vehicle and a minibus used by the local community and a sum of money.
"Breaking into someone’s home is always traumatic for the victim but is even more shameful that anyone would break into an amenity widely used by the local community."
The PSNI are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.