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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 11:52 GMT
Spate of attacks on city priests
Archbishop Mario Conti
Archbishop Mario Conti has "deep concerns" about security
An elderly priest has been threatened with a knife and another robbed of 300 in a spate of attacks on Catholic churches in Glasgow.

In little over two weeks, police in the city have received reports of seven attacks including robbery, break-ins, thefts and vandalism.

Archbishop Mario Conti said he was "horrified at the level of intimidation" priests had experienced.

He said he would be seeking more police protection for priests.

He said: "For two elderly priests to be accosted in their presbyteries and threatened is appalling in any civilised society and surely cannot be tolerated.

"I have deep concerns for the well being and security of my priests."

As the church mainly conducts its business in cash, drug addicts no doubt see it as an easy target
Monsignor Peter Smith
St Mary's Calton

The most recent incident happened at 0830 GMT on Wednesday when a 75-year-old priest was robbed of 300 at a chapel house in Crosshill in the south of the city.

He was threatened and ordered to empty his pockets of the money which he had saved to buy presents for his three nieces.

On Sunday, 29 January, an 83-year-old priest was threatened with a knife in Toryglen.

He was confronted by the thief who had broken into the canon's quarters at 0430 GMT.

It was the second break-in in under two weeks and the parish priest has been considering the installation of CCTV cameras.

On Saturday, 21 January intruders broke into St Mary's Church in Calton in the east end during mass causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Churches in Glasgow are now consulting with police on security

The following day a priest's car was vandalised outside the church.

Monsignor Peter Smith, of St Mary's, blamed the attacks on Glasgow's drug problem.

He said: "Glasgow as a whole and our area is having to deal with a desperate drugs problem.

"As the church mainly conducts its business in cash, drug addicts no doubt see it as an easy target."

Another incident occurred on Saturday 14 January at St Bernadette's Church in Carntyne where collection boxes were raided, the monstrance stolen and the priest's car vandalised.

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