The bookshop was besieged by a large gang of teenagers and men and women in their early twenties, who smashed the windows with bricks. They then burst into the shop and helped themselves to rosaries, statues of Our Lady, and The Holy Infant of Prague. After that, they walked over to the Cathedral, knelt down on the steps and recited all five decades of the Glorious Mysteries. Others cleared the shelves of CTS pamphlets, waving them triumphantly in the air before sitting down outside in the square and starting to read them with rapt attention.
The older members of the gang went for more valuable items, taking as many CDs of Gregorian Chant as they could stuff down their T-shirts. A few, who obviously knew exactly what they were after, grabbed every copy of the £90 Liber Usualis they could find on the shelves before making their way into the stock room where they discovered more. Other looters made a beeline for the 1962 Missal and again, every single copy was taken from the shelves and stock room.
Another target was translations of the works of St Thomas Aquinas, St Teresa of Avila and St Augustine, as well as the present Pope. Books by authors such as Karen Armstrong and Karl Rahner, and music from the publishers Kevin Mayhew, however, were left undisturbed.
Despite the proximity of New Scotland Yard, calls to the police were ignored.
The manageress of the shop said that she was both shocked and puzzled, though she had noticed there had been a bit of a run on Liber Usualis and the 1962 Missal recently.
"We only started stocking them a few months ago when people had come in and asked. I was dubious at first but they have been flying off the shelves. I still can't understand why. This latest business is a mystery. I wouldn't have thought anyone would even have been interested in any of that old stuff.
"But there's no accounting for tastes, is there? If they won't even take the CDs of music by Babette Squirrel and Peter Pinewood when they can have them for nothing, I am just going to have to put them in the 5p box - they must be worth it for the empty cases. We just have to keep up with the demand."