Police probe financial issues at Catholic parish in Saltcoats
Police have been called in to investigate "financial irregularities" at a Catholic church in North Ayrshire.
The Diocese of Galloway said a report on the issue at St Mary's (Our Lady Star of the Sea) in Saltcoats had been passed to Police Scotland on 27 May.
In a statement, the Diocese confirmed that Father Graeme Bell had resigned his position as parish priest with effect from 1 June.
It said inquiries were ongoing and the Diocese was assisting police.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Galloway said: "Father Graeme Bell recently received permission from Bishop Nolan, to take a leave of absence and to resign his position as Parish Priest of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Saltcoats.
"This was due to begin on Monday 1st June.
"On Wednesday 27th May a report was passed to Police Scotland alleging financial irregularities in the parish."
The statement added: "Police inquiries are ongoing and Father Bell has vacated the parish house. The Diocese of Galloway will continue to assist the police in their investigations."