The Diocese of Down and Connor can confirm that around 9.30pm last night two men, armed with a suspected firearm, gained entry into the presbytery of St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, and threatened a priest holding him hostage while they robbed the property. Before leaving, they locked the priest in a room from which he managed to escape around 10am this morning. The PSNI were then called to the scene.
The priest has been left very distressed and traumatised by this experience. The level of organisation and aggression perpetrated by these robbers is particularly disturbing and deeply concerning. The priest is recovering and has received many messages of support from parishioners, clergy and the local community. He is assisting the PSNI with their investigations.
While measures are in place to ensure large sums of money are not kept on parish grounds priests are vulnerable due to the nature of their work and their availability to the public.
We would ask for vigilance and encourage anyone who has information in relation to this incident to bring it to the attention of the detectives at Musgrave PSNI Station.