A HORWICH church which has been targeted by youths faces a £600 bill for a new door following an attempted break-in.

The damage at St Elizabeth’s Church in Cedar Avenue happened less than a week after thieves stole paving flags from Bolton Parish Church.

The door handle was broken off during the attempted break-in and is the latest in a series of incidents targetting St Elizabeth’s.

Andrew Ferrier, chairman of the fabrics group at the church, said: “Some youths ran into the church hall on Wednesday during a club meeting. And they also smashed a fire alarm which went off.

“Recently, they tried to set fire to the boilerhouse at the back of the church and also broke into the vicarage garage at the side of the church.

“We’ve had trouble over the years and it seems to go in waves. It seems to be youths who terrorise and then get bored. It’s a continual cycle.”

The Rev Michael Behrend said: “They didn’t manage to get inside and ran off. The door will cost about £600 to replace, which we hope will be covered on the insurance.

“But, of course, there is always an excess to pay for claims. In the end, the church will have to raise money for it as it will probably increase the premium.

“We think this is probably young lads who have nothing better to do. It is different to the people who stole the flags from the Parish Church.”

Police are investigating last Tuesday’s incident at St Elizabeth’s. PCSO Steve Best said: “An unknown offender has tried to force entry and broke the handle off the door and made off unseen. There have also been reports of youths causing annoyance in the area. We are investigating.”

Last month, 100-year-old flagstones were stolen from Bolton Parish Church. Twenty-five slabs of York paving stone were ripped from the path leading to the church.

The theft of the stones, which can fetch up to £90 per square yard at reclaimers, caused outrage among the congregation.

The theft comes just over a month after 400-year-old paving stones were stolen from Grade II listed Haulgh Hall in Hilden Street. The historic building is thought to be the oldest in Bolton.