A TEENAGER has been charged after an investigation into a fire that forced a church and homeless shelter to shut over Christmas.

A 14-year-old boy from Whitefield — who cannot be named for legal reasons — has been charged with burglary.

He will appear at Manchester and Salford Youth Court on January 21, 2019.

An investigation was carried out after a fire at Heaton Park Methodist Church, in Bury Old Road, on Saturday, December 22 at about 8pm.

Fire crews were called to the scene to extinguish the flames.

Police enquiries later established that the building had been broken into shortly before the blaze took hold, and a number of items were stolen from inside.

The fire caused significant damage to the building, which only recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, but is now expected to require expensive repairs.