The catholic church on Bethlehem Rd was last night destroyed in a suspicious blaze.

Senior Sergeant Carl Purcell said the fire was being treated as suspicious and police were guarding the scene.

Tauranga senior station officer Nigel Liddicoat said fire fighters were called to the church about 10.45pm last night to find it fully ablaze.

Three crews fought the fire until about 1am and the last crew left about 4am.

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The church was destroyed.