POLICE have appealed for witnesses after a church was set on fire in Co. Antrim.
The attack on Our Lady and St Patrick's Catholic Church in the Castle Street area of Ballymoney took place at around 9.45pm on Sunday, November 19.
The fire was extinguished by the local parish priest Fr Damian McCaughan before the police arrived at the scene.
In a statement made after the attack, Ballymoney & Derrykeighan Catholic Parish confirmed: “As you may have seen online there was an attempted arson at Our Lady & St Patrick’s on Sunday night.
“A fire was started deliberately outside the doors of the old entrance at the back of the church.”
They added: “Luckily our Guardian Angel looked after us and the fire was quickly picked up by the alarms.
“Fr Damian was able to extinguish the flames before they did too much damage.”
Police have launched an arson investigation to track down those responsible for the attack.
The PSNI’s Sergeant Moody said: “Police received a report shortly after 9.45pm that the side door of a church in the Castle Street area of the town had been set alight.
“The fire was extinguished before the arrival of officers and thankfully no injuries were reported.
“Some damage was caused to the door as a result of the fire and we are investigating what happened as a deliberate arson attack.”
He added: “Our enquiries are ongoing and I would appeal to anyone who may be able to assist with our investigation to contact us on 101, quoting reference 1540 19/11/23.
“We are especially keen to hear from anyone who was in the Castle Street area of the town and near the church on Sunday evening between 9.30pm and 9.45pm, and noticed anything suspicious, to get in touch.”
The church parish has also urged anyone with information about the attack to contact police.
“Special thanks to Police Causeway Cost & Glens who attended promptly,” they said.
“Anyone with any information should contact the police,” they added.
“May God bless us and Our Lady and St Patrick protect us.”