THIEVES have broken into an historic York church, the fourth raid on the building this year.

Holy Trinity Church, in Goodramgate, dates back to the 15th Century. It was first targeted by thieves in January.

They damaged the property and made off with some money which, unusually for the church, had not been deposited at the bank that day.

Graham White, who is volunteer co-ordinator for Yorkshire and the North East from the Churches Conservation Trust, said the damage caused in the latest attack would probably cost more than £500 to repair.

Mr White said: “It was all for the sake of nothing at the end of the day. It was completely in vain. There was nothing taken.

“They booted in the donation box, but found nothing because no cash is left here overnight. They forced their way into the vestry and made an untidy search, and forced open cupboards searching for money to no avail, because there’s no cash left overnight.”

Since the first theft, staff at the church have found a bench and a ladder on the grounds on two occasions, indicating thieves may have returned, but did not gain entry. Sunday’s break-in was the third time since January burglars have actually got inside.

Mr White said: “The front door to the church is not historic really, but internally they have damaged a 19th century door.

“We boarded up a window from the first time and in pulling that off to get in on Sunday they have pulled away the 19th century architraving from around the window.

“That’s been ripped off which is going to cost to get repaired.

“We’re just hoping there’s not a next time.”

A police spokesman confirmed they were investigating the incidents and urged anyone with information to phone them on 101, quoting reference 12140034371.