A HEARTLESS thug attacked a priest during a robbery bid at a church.

The scruffy would-be robber targeted the priest at St Winin's Church in St Winnings Lane, Kilwinning at around 4.30pm on Tuesday.

He approached the door of the chapel house. The priest opened the door, and admitted the would-be robber into the chapel, who then threatened him and demanded money.

A scuffle then broke out with the suspect grabbing the priest’s collar, and pushing and shoving him.

The suspect then grabbed keys from the priest’s hand, which were thereafter recovered, but left empty handed.

The 62-year-old priest did not require medical attention.

The suspect is described as white, aged between 25 and 30 years old, brown hair, with a medium build and medium height.

He is described as having a scruffy appearance, and was wearing a blue tracksuit top and dark coloured trousers.

The same culprit may have also have caused a disturbance in the vicinity of the Pennyburn Supermarket, Kilwinning, a short time prior to the robbery.

Officers are carrying out enquiries in the area, and will be checking for any CCTV footage and are following several lines of enquiry.

Detective Inspector Mick Carr said: “I am appealing to anyone who was in either of these areas at the time of the incidents to think back and consider if they noticed anything suspicious or unusual. Did you see anyone hanging about outside the church? If there is any information which you think could assist us in our enquiries and lead to us tracing the person responsible then please do pass it on. Your information could prove vital.”

Anyone with information is asked to call officers at Saltcoats CID via 101, quoting incident number 2486 of 23 January 2018. Alternatively, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be passed anonymously.