Shocking attack on church by vandals

PUBLISHED: 12:12 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:40 31 May 2010

Vandalism at St Mary Church.
Newport.
January 28, 2009.
Photograph by Michael Boyton.
Pic shows: Barbara with one of the fallen grave stones.
Name: Rev Dr Barbara Sherlock.

Vandalism at St Mary Church. Newport. January 28, 2009. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Barbara with one of the fallen grave stones. Name: Rev Dr Barbara Sherlock.

VANDALS have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to Newport s historic church in a series of mindless attacks. In the latest incident, which happened last Tuesday (January 20), bibles were ripped up and obscene graffiti was scrawled on the church w

VANDALS have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to Newport's historic church in a series of mindless attacks.

In the latest incident, which happened last Tuesday (January 20), bibles were ripped up and obscene graffiti was scrawled on the church walls. In the churchyard, large granite gravestones were pushed over and broken.

Rev Dr Barbara Sherlock said: "I am really shocked by what has happened here. The church is locked at night, but during the day we operate an open door policy for the people of the village to come and use the church when they want - it would be sad if we had to lock it."

Previously, on Christmas Eve, crib figures were stolen from the St Mary the Virgin church and crosses were damaged. And in September the large lectern bible had been torn up and church artefacts broken.

Police have confirmed that £100 worth of items have been stolen from the church and more than £5000 worth of damage has been caused to the building and its property.

"When the vandalism happened again we left the church in the state we found it so that the police could see what had happened," said Rev Sherlock. "We have been advised by the crime reduction officer to report any further acts that happen.

"We don't know who is doing this but I'm sure it's not the youths of the village. I'm involved with the youth club and can't imagine it is one of them - it is more likely to be someone from outside the village."

The church has recently launched an appeal to raise money for vital repair work to the roof and walls and the vandalism is a setback to their fundraising.

"We can't even begin to repair the stone memorial crosses," added Rev Sherlock. "They are very old and they were pushed hard enough to break. It is very upsetting for people to see the memorial stones like this, but we don't have the money to repair them at the moment."

Anyone with information about the vandalism at the church should contact PC O'Dowd at Saffron Walden Police Station on 0300 333 4444.

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