"Everyone is very upset, emotions are very high."
A Hindu temple in the UK has been broken into, vandalised and had cash stolen for the fifth time this year.
It was discovered that Swindon Hindu Temple had been raided on the morning of Saturday, September 4, 2021.
However, the incident is thought to have occurred between August 30 and September 2, 2021.
Thousands of pounds of cash was stolen from collection boxes which many worshippers had contributed towards.
The main altar in the temple, which is considered a sacred area, was also left desecrated.
Swindon Hindu Temple chairman Pradeep Bhardwaj said that this is the fifth time the Hindu temple has been broken into since May 2021.
He 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.”
The chairman also said that the break-in had been reported to Swindon Borough Council.
He added that the temple has also requested an urgent meeting with the police commissioner and chief constable.
Mr Bharadwaj said: “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.
“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 the most part of the last 18 months, the community was very eagerly looking forward to resuming their normal activities, especially since the main Hindu festival period has just started.”
The local police force is now appealing for any witnesses to get in touch with them.
A Wiltshire Police spokesman said:
“Our enquiries are ongoing following a break-in at the Swindon Hindu Temple on Darby Close.
“Officers were called to the location on Saturday morning following a burglary which is believed to have happened the night before.
“After gaining access to the building, the offender(s) have stolen a number of collection boxes.
“We would ask anyone with information to contact us on 101.”