Hindu temple in Swindon closed permanently after thieves damage site

A Hindu community leader in Swindon has said he is "shocked and saddened" after the council ended the lease of the temple with immediate effect.

Swindon Borough Council said it was forced to shut the building due to safety issues.

There have been a series of break-ins at the site, with thieves striking five times.

As well as stealing thousands of pounds, the culprits also stripped out copper piping and damaged the temple's electricity supply.

Vandalism at the temple during one of the break-ins.

The council says it has no choice but to close the temple - but it comes just weeks before a key Hindu festival.

Ram Thiagarajah, Temple Trustee and Priest, told ITV News: "This is a great shock to our whole Hindu community in Swindon.

"It comes at the worst time because August, September to November is our festival time - and the biggest festival of all times, which is Diwali, is coming on November 4.

"We have no place to congregate and celebrate this function. Now people either have to go to various other places like Birmingham or London or Bristol or somewhere, so there's no way they can celebrate as a community."

Councillor Keith Williams described the closure as a "decision nobody wanted to make".

"I'm personally sad that we can't keep the building open," he added.

"When the real villains of this story ripped out a large amount of cabling, damaging an electricity sub station in the process, they cut all mains power to the building which means we simply can't supply heating or hot water.

"We've been working closely with members of the Hindu Temple Trust on what is a very difficult situation."