The owners of an historic Barrhead building have slammed mindless yobs who have caused more than £50,000 worth of damage during a series of break-ins.

Extensive vandalism at the former South and Levern Church has included pews being wrecked and toilets smashed.

The church organ has been so badly damaged that it is now beyond repair.

Barrhead News: Damage to the interiorDamage to the interior

Brass fittings have been ripped off, lights have been destroyed and food has been sprayed over the walls and floor.

Every window at the rear of the 176-year-old building, in Main Street, has been broken.

The latest break-in took place on Friday, when radiators were pulled from walls and further damage was done to the organ.

The church closed its doors last summer and was bought by developers in November but they have since faced an uphill battle to keep the vandals out.

Barrhead News: Further damage to the interiorFurther damage to the interior

One of the building’s owners, who asked not to be named, told the Barrhead News: “They have absolutely destroyed the inside of the church and must have used some force to do so.

“It’s so sad. We were going to strip the building back but it would have been done in a constructive way, not like this.

“We also planned to find a buyer for the organ and pipes so they could be saved but the organ is now beyond repair.”

Barrhead News: The damage to the interiorThe damage to the interior

In July, more than 100 people gathered at the church, which was built in 1846, for the last service to be held there.

Due to declining numbers, the congregation had merged with Arthurlie Church in 2013 to form St Andrew’s Church.

In recent years, the listed building had been used by East Renfrewshire Foodbank, as well as hosting meetings of local Scouts and Girl Guides.

Barrhead News: The church boarded up after damageThe church boarded up after damage

The owner added: “This has been mindless vandalism for its own sake.

“I want people in the town to be aware of what is happening on their own doorstep.

“Keep an eye open and contact the police if you have any information.”

Barrhead News: Barrhead Church (front exterior)

Police have confirmed they are investigating “ongoing break-ins and vandalisms” at the empty church building.

A spokesperson said: “It is estimated that a five-figure sum of damage has been caused in total.

“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is urged to call police on 101.”