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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Priest robbed after blessing plea
St Oswald's Church
The robbers searched through the priest's home
A Catholic priest was robbed at gunpoint in his home by a man who had asked to be blessed, police have said.

The 69-year-old priest saw the man at the window of his home at St Oswald's Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Greater Manchester, on Tuesday evening.

The man said he wanted to be blessed, but after the priest led him into the church, his accomplice burst in.

The pair threatened the priest with a gun before stealing a large amount of money from his adjoining presbytery.

Det Sgt Bill Nelson, from Greater Manchester Police, said the robbery was "despicable".

'Traumatic'

He added: "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."

Both men were white and in their early 20s. The first was about 5ft 10in tall, slim, with a pale complexion and short dark hair. One of his ears was disfigured at the top.

His accomplice was shorter in height and wearing a dark baseball cap

The pair escaped in a white J-registered Audi.


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