Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Church arson attack 'sectarian'

Police car/tape

An arson attack at a Presbyterian church in Newcastle at the weekend is being treated as sectarian.

A minibus was damaged during the attack at Valentia Place.

It caught fire after a bin was set alight and pushed up against the door of Newcastle Presbyterian Church on Saturday night.

The Reverend Ivan Patterson said he was saddened by the attack. "When folk heard about the arson attempt in was just sheer disappointment," he said.

"Relationships in Newcastle over the years have been very good across the board," he added.

"We felt that people were moving way beyond this, but there you go that's how people are."

The attack was reported to police shortly before 2300 GMT. The church itself was not damaged.

Detectives in Newcastle have appealed to witnesses or anyone with information to contact them.

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