Vandals strike at church on holiest day of Christian year

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

THE rector of a historic village church says he and his parishioners have been left gutted by the latest attack by vandals on the building.

Over the weekend the yobs smashed their way into St Mary’s at Overton and trashed the flower arrangements laid out ready for the Easter Sunday service.

The incident came just months after a similar break-in at St Mary’s, which dates back to Norman times, when intruders poured beer over the altar and defecated behind it.

Rector, the Rev David Lewis, said: “Our church warden, Avril Lawrenson, discovered the latest break-in on Saturday morning.

“Someone had used considerable force to get through quite a heavy oak door at the main side entrance to the church.

“They then destroyed the flowers which had been laid out on Good Friday by church members on the two altars and windows sills ready for the Easter service and a baptism on Sunday morning.

“I have heard that a few people were woken up by a gang of youths who were around the village at about 4am on Saturday, so it’s possible it could have been them.

“We still had a few flowers left for Sunday morning when we had 100 people in the church.”

He added: “This is the second serious break-in we have had recently.

“In the week after Christmas, someone broke in and smashed the organ console and some of the lights.

“They broke up candles and ground them into the carpet, and also poured beer over the altar and went to the toilet behind it.

“All this is like a kick in the gut.

“A lot of people spent their time making the church look nice for Easter and then someone comes along and destroys it.

“We might now have to consider extra security measures such as fitting CCTV, although we don’t want the church to look like a prison.

“We have got to strike a balance between making the place secure as well as open to the public.”

Warden Avril Lawrenson, who discovered the damage on Saturday, said: “I am very disheartened by the people of today.”

A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said: “We can confirm that the side door of the church was smashed and a mess left inside the building.

“Officers have been told there were youths causing a disturbance in the area at the time but no-one reported this to us.

“If anyone has information about the incident they should contact us on by calling 101, or 0845 6071001 (Welsh line) or 0845 6071002 (English).”

See full story in the Leader

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