Paphos police on Tuesday were investigating a spate of church burglaries that netted thieves over €9,500 worth of religious artefacts.
Between the early hours 8pm and 5am on Monday, the churches of Ayia Marina Chrysoschous, Ayios Dimitrianos and Ayia Eirini in Timi where broken into by what police believe to be the same gang.
“This is a new thing and it is of great concern to us,” said Nicos Tsiappis, Paphos police spokesman. “We believe the thieves’ new target is churches as they house expensive items, and they are able to steal cash as well.”
According to police, thieves stole €6,500 worth of valuables from the Church of Ayia Marina Chrysoschous.
Within hours thieves broke into two other churches in the Paphos District.
In Timi, thieves used a sharp instrument to break into the church of Ayia Irini from where they stole an icon worth €3000 as well as a standard bearing a silver cross.
They also took two silver plated chalices and a silver candlestick, of unknown value.
A local priest then called the police to report a third theft, this time from the church of Ayios Dimitrianos in the Paphos community under the same name.
Thieves took two silver standards, a silver cross — whose worth was not disclosed — and gold plated coins worth €15 value.
Police said measures were being taken including increased patrols in the areas where there are churches.
“We are doing everything we can above and beyond the police force in order to prevent this from happening,” Tsiappis said.