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WATCH: CCTV shows arsonist carry burning cloth through church

PUBLISHED: 23:23 29 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:00 30 March 2018

The man who lit fires in the church and left a devil picture on the altar. Picture: Keith Morris

The man who lit fires in the church and left a devil picture on the altar. Picture: Keith Morris

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CCTV shows the man who brought fire and fury to a church in Great Yarmouth.

The devil which the arsonist left on the altar at St Mary's Catholic Church in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Brian LaffertyThe devil which the arsonist left on the altar at St Mary's Catholic Church in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Brian Lafferty

On Tuesday a man lit several small fires in St Mary’s Catholic Church in Regent Road and attempted to burn a sacred icon from the altar.

The man then left a depiction of the Devil in its place, in what police have described as a hate crime.

The footage shows a man entering the church before appearing to make an offensive hand gesture in the general direction of the camera and a crucifix on the wall.

The man can then be seen to walk down the centre aisle and attempts to light a newspaper from the front row.

An arsonist lit several fires and left a satanic figure on the altar at St Mary's Catholic Church in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Keith MorrisAn arsonist lit several fires and left a satanic figure on the altar at St Mary's Catholic Church in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Keith Morris

The newspaper starts to emit smoke but does not fully catch and the man then returns to the back of the church and lights a table cloth with a candle.

Footage shows the man carrying the flaming cloth back down the aisle before throwing it in the direction of the altar.

The altar itself cannot be seen from the footage, however, a significant flash of light can be seen to brighten the church walls.

Parishioner of 33 years, Brian Lafferty, believes the flash could have been caused by the man throwing the church icon from the altar on to the flaming cloth.

An arsonist lit several fires and left a satanic figure on the altar at St Mary's Catholic Church in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jacob MasseyAn arsonist lit several fires and left a satanic figure on the altar at St Mary's Catholic Church in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jacob Massey

The man can then be seen leaving the church, appearing to make another offensive hand gesture as he exits.

Parish priest, Father Anthony Nwankwo, said a cleaner originally alerted him to the smoke, however, they thought it had been caused purely by small burn marks on the table at the back of the church.

It was only later that afternoon that they saw the damage and desecration of the altar.

Mr Nwankwo said: “What we saw was very upsetting. This man is an enemy of the church. They do not like the worship of God and it is an attack on our religion.

“I assume his intention was to burn everything down.

“When Jesus was on the cross, he pleaded for forgiveness for those who committed atrocities against him, and I will pray for forgiveness for this man when I reconsecrate the altar.”

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