'˜Air rifle' shots fired at Hartlepool church on Christmas Eve

A Hartlepool reverend has hit out at thugs who started shooting at his church on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 4:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 4:20 pm
Father Graeme Buttery outside of St Oswald's Church.

The bell ringers at St Oswald’s Church in the town were forced to stop playing when shots, from what is thought to have been an air rifle, were fired at the bell tower windows.

Father Graeme Buttery, said the annual Christmas Eve crib ceremony was just about to start in the church, which was packed with children and families, when one of the bell ringers came down to say what was happening.

The reverend, along with a couple of church members, went outside to see what was going on, but it was dark and the assailants had fled.

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He said: “The stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me.”

He said the church has encountered its fair share of problems from vandals, including the lightening rod being stolen recently, but Father Buttery said: “In all the years I have been here, I have never known anyone shooting at the church.”

Thankfully no-one was injured during the incident and there doesn’t appear to be any damage to the windows, but Father Buttery said the worry is they might come back and try again.

The children didn’t realise anything was happening and they still enjoyed the Christmas Eve service.