A Lancaster parishioner had a shock when he opened his door to find three threatening Swiss Guards who had come to collect a twenty pence unpaid debt.
‘I was in the middle of The Chase and having a good round when the doorbell went.’ The father of three said. ‘There they were right there in their uniforms and one put out his hand. “Twenty pence for candle!” he said with a weird Frenchy German accent.
‘Before I could say “What the fudge!?” he had leant in to my porch and grabbed the 20p out of my change tin. He said “Don’t steal from ze church!” before they walked off. I wouldn’t mind but I put a quid in last week and only lit one candle.
‘The neighbours thought they were stripograms.’
Local priest, Father Sean Strickland said, ‘You’ve got to keep an eye on them. It’s a candle one week but the next it’ll be lead off your roof and kneelers from the pews. You’ve no idea how many copies of Hymns Old and New people have walked off with.
‘The Swiss Guard are good, they get the job done, but if you need something off the books and unofficial, I know a few Catenians…’
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