Published: 08:50 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 19 August 2011
Village church ransacked as vandals attack on day of riots
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
|Church of St Peter and St Paul's, Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire, England
CC BY-SA 2.0 by Ian Rob
A village church in Northampton was ransacked by vandals on a day riots swept through the nation.
Police are investigating the crime but have said that there is no evidence to suggest that the incident was linked to the national disorder.
Offenders invaded the church of St Peter and St Paul in Nether Heyford, Northampton, on Tuesday 9 August, causing damage to the pulpit, font, lectern and bell tower. The incident happened sometime between 10am and 5.30pm in the 12th- century church, which is left open to the public during the day for private worship.
The parish church is left unsupervised, so the damage was not discovered until the building was locked up at around 5pm.
Assistant curate the Rev Andrea Watkins said that the church would now have to close in the daytime.
It's just tragic for the community. We keep this church open in the day time so people can use it for quiet time and prayer space but unfortunately for the foreseeable future it will have to close.
The Rev David Smith, who retired after 13 years at the church, said he had never seen anything like the destruction caused.
He said chairs were tipped over, prayer books were ripped, glass windows in the bell tower were smashed and the lectern, the ancient lid of the font, the wooden cross at the altar and a candle stick on the pulpit were all broken.
He confirmed that nothing was stolen from the church but said he did not know how much it would cost to repair.
I am disgusted by this. It just makes me feel sick.
The vandals haven't achieved anything by doing this. I just can't understand why they would.
Ms Watkins said it was not known if the attack was linked to the riots that took place in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities and towns last week.
However she said the community, like many others across the country, had pulled together to clean up the mess.
Around 20 volunteers descended on the church yesterday morning to tidy up the debris, and Ms Watkins said:
The community spirit has been the winner in this. People who never come to the church but live nearby and have heard about the damage have come to help. The church means a lot to the village.
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Read the Northampton Chronicle article - Village church ransacked as vandals attack on day of riots