Two religious artefacts have been stolen from Holycross Abbey in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

A cross containing a relic believed to have been from the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified and a second gold and bronze cross were taken in the robbery.

It is belived that two men cut through a steel door of a display cabinet.

Holy Cross Parish priest Fr Tom Breen said the relic had been in the Abbey for almost 900 years.

One cross was silver, approximately 30cm in height, hanging from a chair and contained two cross and two dark stones and is believed to date from the 14th Century.

The second cross was of gold and bronze, around 30cm and standing on its own base.

Gardaí said two men, who had their faces covered, entered the Abbey at 5pm yesterday carrying a portable angle grinder, a hammer and a screwdriver.

The two left the area a few minutes later in a red or wine coloured 2006 Offaly or Limerick registered Volkswagen Touareg.

The car was later found burned-out at Yellow Lough, Thurles.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact Thurles Garda Station on 0504-25100.