A CHURCH warden has been attacked and robbed as he took church donations to the bank.
The 66-year-old man was set upon by three men as he was walking down Holt Street, only yards from Tontine Methodist Church in Orrell.
The man, who does not wish to be named, was walking down Holt Street from the church to pay in cash that was collected the previous Sunday, at a bank only yards away in Church Street.
As he was walking down Holt Street, he saw three men on the corner with St James Road talking loudly.
He was then grabbed from behind and was confronted by two of the three men, one of whom snatched the cash which was in a bag, and started shouting ‘money money money’.
One of the other men then punched the victim in the head.
The trio then fled up St James Road towards Georges Terrace and out of sight.
Two of the men were described as white, in their late teens or early 20s, about 5ft 10in tall, of a slim build, and wearing black tracksuit tops with the hoods pulled up.
The third was also white, of a slim build, about 5ft 10in tall and wearing a dark T-shirt with a grey tracksuit top tied around his waist.
The attack has left the congregation of Tontine Methodist Church shaken.
The Rev John Hilton said: “It has come as a great shock to all of us, and it is extremely disappointing that this has happened in our community.
“This kind man is a long-standing member of our congregation, and for him to be attacked only yards from the church in broad daylight is distressing.
“The money is not the issue, it is an attack on a man taking donations to the bank.
“Thankfully, he is not too badly injured, but he will be left emotionally injured and shaken up.
“It has made all 18 Methodist churches in the borough re-evaluate how we bank our money, too, as this could happen again very easily.
“It has left us all feeling very upset at what has happened.”
Police are now appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
PC Lynsey Watson, from the Priority Crime Team at Wigan, said: “This attack has left the man with an injury to his jaw.
“Not only that, he is also understandably shaken up at being assaulted, when he was simply trying to pay in money from the church’s collection.
“It is an utterly senseless, needless and cowardly attack, and has also robbed the church of vital money they need.
“These offenders have not just targeted this man, but also the whole community.
“I would therefore appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened, or saw these men hanging around the area, or even has overheard some gossip that could be crucial to our investigation, to come forward.”
Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 5308 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.