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Father robbed and threatened with gun in church - Ashton in Makerfield
Thursday 29th September, 2005

Police in Ashton-in-Makerfield are appealing for information after the Father at St Oswald's Roman Catholic Church was threatened with a gun and robbed in his own home.

At approximately 5.40pm on Tuesday 27 September 2005 the 69-year-old Father was at home in the presbytery when his attention was drawn to a man standing at the window.

The Father asked the man what he wanted and the stranger asked if he could be blessed. The Father agreed and took the man into the church where he blessed him at the altar. As the man was making his way out of the church another man burst into the building armed with a gun.

The second man threatened to shoot the Father and demanded money. At this point it became clear the two men were acquainted and they both walked the Father back into the presbytery where they systematically searched the house.

They stole a large amount of money from the Father's wallet and from the house before making off in a white J-registered Saab.

The first man is described as being white, approximately 5ft 10ins tall, of slim build and in his early twenties. He has short dark hair with a pale complexion and his right ear is disfigured at the top.

The second offender is white, approximately 5ft 8ins tall, of slight build and also in his early twenties. He was wearing a dark blue baseball cap, a white long-sleeved top and dark trousers.

Detective Sergeant Bill NELSON from Wigan CID said: "This is a despicable act on a respected member of the community. To treat and threaten a member of the clergy in this manner is nothing other than disgraceful.

"This is a man who willingly helps others who are less fortunate and as a result of a request for spiritual help he has been subjected to a traumatic robbery and threat to his life.

"We need to find the perpetrators of this crime as soon as possible and would ask any member of the public who has information about the identity of the offenders to help us. Any witnesses who saw suspicious activity in the area at around the time of the robbery is urged to contact police on 0161 856 7252 of Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."


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