Tees

Firefighters attend mass after Stockton presbytery arson

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Media captionFather Patrick McKenna escaped unhurt when he was alerted by a smoke alarm

Firefighters have attended mass at a Teesside church after its presbytery was subjected to an arson attack.

The main door to the building next to St Bede's RC Church in Stockton was set alight and accelerant thrown through a window early on 29 July.

Father Patrick McKenna, 68, escaped by climbing out of an upstairs window.

Members of Cleveland Fire Brigade handed out fire safety leaflets and urged people to rally together to stop arson.

Watch Manager Davey Veitch, who was the officer in charge on the night, also met with members of the congregation.

He said: "Thankfully Father Patrick had a working smoke alarm fitted which alerted him to the fire and allowed him time to get out of the building.

"It could have been so much worse if he did not have this in place."

Cleveland Police said the investigation was continuing.

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