A Hindu temple has been raided for the fifth time since May with thousands of pounds in cash stolen and rooms vandalised.
Collection boxes with the money were taken from the Swindon Hindu Temple and doors were damaged in the break-in.
The main altar of the temple – where the deities are placed – was also vandalised. This is an area that is highly consecrated.
Wiltshire Police is appealing for anyone with information to get in touch
The break-in on Darby Close was discovered on Saturday morning and is believed to have happened between Tuesday and Friday.
Temple chairman Pradeep Bhardwaj said: “This is a matter of great concern and of utmost sensitivity for all Hindus.
“Everyone is very upset, emotions are very high. People are now sleeping overnight at the temple to safeguard the deities ourselves.”
There have been three previous break-ins in the warehouse behind the temple – during which electrical cables were taken, removing the power supply to the temple – and the two most recent raids in the main temple, Mr Bhardwaj said.
He said they had now requested an urgent meeting with the police commissioner and chief constable to discuss the situation, which has also been reported to Swindon Borough Council.
“A large amount of cash was taken. The big metal collection boxes were broken. It was thousands of pounds, plus they have taken some other artefacts,” Mr Bhardwaj said.
“It’s more than the cash though…ransacking the gods, idols and pictures, people are very enraged.
“This is the only Hindu temple in this entire area, the county and much beyond, and since it had been closed for most part of the last 18 months, the community was very eagerly looking forward to resume their normal activities, especially since the main Hindu festival period has just started.” BBC West