A CHURCH that runs a food bank and supports homeless people has warned it may have to shut down after burglars broke in to snatch cash and gold.
Totton Spiritualist Church in Rumbridge Street was raided overnight with intruders smashing through a barred door and rifling through the office. They made off with at least £1,000 in loot as well as the safe.
The church, which was founded in the town in 1947 and has about 100 regular visitors, operates a food bank and this Christmas handed out boxes of provisions to homeless people. In 2017 it sent four truck-loads of supplies to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
It has been on Rumbridge Street for about eight years and runs spiritualist services, and sessions in mediumship, music and tarot-reading.
But the financial hit has now put its future in doubt, according to church president, Sarah Judd, who warned on Facebook: “Hope whoever has done it enjoys themselves as the church is now in grave danger of having to shut with the money you have stolen.”
She told the A&T: “We locked the church up at about 8.20pm on Sunday night and went in for healing on Monday and found the back door had been jimmied open and a window smashed. The church was in a tip and every penny and the safe had gone. They have taken everything.
“We hope for the best that we can get some of the money back and find a way to repair the damage. The people in Totton have been really, really good and they have already set up a GoFundMe webpage. It means a lot to us.”
She added: “We’re devastated. Doing it to a shop is bad enough but doing it to a charity and a church is the lowest of the low.”
The fundraising webpage was launched by Totton resident Sara Dixey with the aim of raising about £2,000. By Wednesday it had reached £135.
She wrote: “These guy do an amazing job, they even collected donations for the Grenfell Tower fire victims and delivered them to the drop-off points in London.
“This isn’t fair to have happened to anyone but for these people to target a church is beyond forgivable.”
Further sympathy was expressed on Facebook with one commenting: “Sorry to read this. Rumbridge Street is really under attack at the moment.” Another said: “It’s horrible. We’ve done so much over the festive period. It’s heart breaking.”
A Hampshire Police spokesperson confirmed: “Officers are investigating following a burglary at Totton Spiritualist Church on Rumbridge Street, Totton.
“At some time between 8.20pm on Sunday 6th January and 7.15pm on Monday 7th January the offender/s forced entry to the church. Once inside they stole a quantity of cash and jewellery.”
Anyone with information should call Hampshire Police on 101 quoting 44190007965.
According to the Spiritualists’ National Union, Spiritualism is a religion in its own right that believes in God and an afterlife. Services include prayer and hymns but may also feature moments of healing and mediumship.
To donate to Totton Spiritualist Church, visit www.gofundme.com/help-save-totton-spiritual-church.