A parish priest has been in a six-month-long battle to try to get police to investigate an early-hours crash which caused £14,000 of damage to his Bradford church.

A car smashed into the 120-year-old gates of St Clement’s Church in Barkerend Road in May but officers refused to even record it as a crime, said the Reverend Dale Barton.

Such was the damage caused, Mr Barton believes the vehicle would have been undriveable and would have had to be towed from the site.

Piecing together wreckage left at the scene he believes it was a light blue Mitsubishi Shogun.

And there has been talk in the area that a 14-year-old boy was behind the wheel at the time, he said.

Condemning the police response to the incident as “unacceptable”, Mr Bartion said: “The police would not act.

“What they meant was ‘I don’t want to do the paperwork’ and yes it is on insurance, but it’s going to cost us £250 for the excess and it’s going to cost the insurance which will put up the premiums.”

He continued: “I would like to see better policing of this neighbourhood and better police response.

“I think it is unacceptable that the police aren’t interested in this. They refused to visit. They called it an unexplained traffic accident and took no further action.”

Last night a West Yorkshire Police spokesman said an investigation had started into Mr Barton’s complaint about the way the incident had been handled by officers.

“Police were called at 10am on May 17, 2012, to reports of damage at an address on Barkerend Road, believed to have been caused by a vehicle,” he said.

“The complainant was spoken to that same evening over the telephone regards the incident and advised accordingly.

“Following a complaint regarding the level of service provided, the matter has been referred to the local Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector for a full assessment of the circumstances and with a view to arranging a face-to-face meeting.”