Video: Ardboe parish priest facing jail after ‘bank heist’

Shocking scenes have been reported from Ardboe, where a parish priest and sacristan donned balaclavas to hold up the local credit union, before being put behind bars.

The spoof video, which has been played by thousands online, marked the launch of the Parish Jailbreak Campaign to raise funds for much needed repairs to the church.

It shows Fr McCartan pondering parish finances, before speeding off to the credit union and then re-emerging from the building - as alarms blare - with two bags of loot, to his waiting get-away driver.

The balaclava-clad pair then made a quick getaway, back to the parish house - where their identities are revealed, sirens sound and the pair banged up for their crime.

But was it an inside job?

First aired on July 30, Fr McCartan and Belle Quinn’s exploits have been viewed an astonishing 19,000 times so far - and the video is promised to be “the 1st of many”.

Around 40 Parishioners from across Ardboe and Moortown have vowed to spend a night at Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast, and each raise £2,000 sponsorship, to go towards replacing the roof on Ardboe church, along with other repairs.

SDLP Councillor Deirdre Mayo - who it turns out, isn’t clean living as people think - told the Mail: “I’m one of the ones that’s going to be in jail.

“I am the chairperson of Ardboe credit union. As you saw in the first episode, we were robbed - so then in the second episode - as far as I can gather, there is going to be an emergency board meeting with them saying that it had to be an inside job, and then the fingers point at me.”

Organised in conjunction with Crumlin Road Gaol, through parishioner Kevin Quinn, project liaison Janet Forbes said 40 naughty locals, planning various ‘crimes’ in the coming weeks will spend a night “under lock and key” in the cells on October 10.

Their release, on October 11, will hinge on the payment of £2,000 bail money and will coincide with a gala dinner, compered by Adrian Logan, as Prison Warden, at the venue.

“A lot of Ardboe Parish live abroad,” Mrs Forbes explained, “so we wanted to come up with a concept that brought in ex-pats. “Social media hadn’t been used in the parish before - we want to be a bit more inclusive in what we’re doing.”

A message on the Ardboe Parish Facebook page said: “Great to see our fundraising event has commenced with a bang and is quickly gathering momentum.”