Although it involves a crime of shocking violence which may well be racially or (stop laughing at the back) religiously motivated, it has as yet failed to appear in any national news outlet to my knowledge.
Here is the article:
So, despite the fact this was automatically ear-marked as a simple robbery, nothing was actually taken from the chapel (if you read the opening of the article alone, you would assume they stormed in to rob the chapel, which is simply not the case).
A CHURCHWARDEN tried to tackle a gang of masked robbers when they attacked him with a hammer as he prepared for a chapel service.
The 80-year-old victim recalled the sickening moment the thugs hit him with the weapon and said: “next time it will be your head”.
Speaking anonymously, the man said he feared for his life when the robbers struck at Gospel Chapel in Benson Street, Bury.
“At first in seemed so unreal, like a prank,” he said. “But it was very real. They could have killed me.”
The victim, from Whitefield, was setting up the chapel hall for a service last Wednesday when he heard a knock at the side door about 7.25pm.
When he went out to see if anyone was there four men jumped on him, brandishing a claw hammer.
“They bundled me back up the steps and into the chapel shouting for my car keys,” he said.
“I resisted and managed to pick up a chair to defend myself, but one grabbed the end of the chair and the others grabbed my arms.”
The robbers hit the pensioner on the knee with the hammer and pinned him down while they rummaged through his pockets.
“He said if I didn’t give him the keys, next time he would hit me over the head with the hammer.
“So I thought, if I carried on resisting I would get damaged and they would still take the keys. They ripped my trousers, grabbed the keys and ran out.”
The thugs locked the victim in before driving off in his car, which was parked outside.
The grey Ford Focus, registration number NL07 XXY, has still not been found.
The robbers are described as Asian men, aged between 20 and 30, and wearing dark clothing and balaclavas. One is described as six feet tall and the others are of average height.
The victim said: “This was a sickening crime of breaking into the house of God, fighting and robbing. Have they no shame?
“I have been a warden here for the last 50 years and have never seen trouble like this. They are scum, the lowest of the low.”
DI John Mazzolai said: “Amazingly the victim was not hurt though he was pushed around violently. Needless to say though he is left terribly shaken up by this. Attacks like this on vulnerable, decent members of the community will not be tolerated and we are working very hard today to trace those responsible.”
Anyone with information on the attackers or the whereabouts of the car is asked to call police on 0161 856 8145, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
What happened was a group of "Asian" men deliberately targeted a church warden inside a Christian chapel, then threatened, beat and humiliated him before stealing his car keys.
Forgive me for stereotyping, but I'm assuming an 80 year old church warden from Bury wasn't driving around in the latest Audi or Mercedes, so could this really have been about the car? Because I think you'll agree, the car must have been pretty special to go to that much effort - a large gang, risking comparatively long sentences for attacking a pensioner with a hammer if caught.
Oh, silly me - the article actually describes the car - it's, er, a grey Ford Focus, nearly three years old.
This was about more than the car. It is not the first time Christians and churches have been targeted in increasingly Muslim areas, either.