Gangland-style graffiti has been daubed on an historic Keighley church.

The damage inflicted on a door of Keighley Shared Church in the town centre refers to the notorious ‘Topend’ gang.

This label has previously been associated with a string of serious crimes in Keighley, including shootings, public disorder and drug-related offences.

Priest-in-charge at the church, the Rev Peter Mott, said: “They’ve just got no respect for the church or for other people’s property. It’ll cost us a lot of money to clean it up.”

Keighley Central ward councillor Abid Hussain branded the people responsible “hooligans”.

“It’s disgraceful,” he said. “Churches are peaceful places where people go to pray. If someone put something like this on my mosque I know I wouldn’t be happy. We’re a multi-cultural society and this sort of behaviour is unacceptable.

“The people who did it need to be arrested, and I hope the police seriously investigate this.”

The vandalism also sparked an outraged response online, with dozens of people reacting angrily to a photograph of the graffiti posted on the ‘You Know You’ve Lived in Keighley When’ Facebook page.

Offenders damaged a wooden door at the back of the building, which faces towards the graveyard.

Mr Mott added: “We’ve had a few problems with graffiti on the church hall – round the back where it’s hidden from view. But we haven’t previously had much graffiti on the actual church.”

He said it was not practical to keep the area behind the church permanently locked, as it needs to be accessible for people attending events in the hall. A police spokesman said on Tuesday afternoon the graffiti had yet to be reported to them.