Vandals target Tidworth church leaving trail of vomit, litter and damage

St Marys Church Tidworth (credit Google Streetview)

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 5:48am 6th June 2016.

Damage at St Mary's in the town runs into thousands of pounds, delaying the chance to open it up to the public.

An investigation's underway after a spate of vandalism at St Mary's Church in Tidworth.

Damaged caused runs into thousands of pounds, and comes as a major setback for The Church Conservation Trust.

The group is supposed to be in the process of opening up the Church (pictured here), which is in South Drive, for use by the community, but since the vandal attacks, their plans have been severely disrupted.

In one incident vandals entered during the night and left behind pools of sick, rubbish and drinks bottles. In another incident which occurred at some point last night (Wednesday 1 June 2016) attempts were made to break into the Church using a cart which had been left in the foyer. The cart was used to try and ram the door causing significant damage to the door and surrounding stonework.

Meriel O'Dowd, Conservation Project Manager at The Churches Conservation Trust told Spire FM News:

"Sadly, on Wednesday 1st June one of our volunteers reported an attempted break-in at St Mary's Church in South Tidworth, resulting in damage to the front door, surrounding stone work and a funeral bier. Once we have fully assessed the extent of this damage we will undertake the work to repair this beautiful church.

"Whilst we operate an 'open churches policy' - it is our belief that a historic church in our care is only properly conserved if it can be enjoyed, understood and used by all - we will temporarily close St Mary's until Wednesday 8th June so we can put in place security measures to ensure that this does not happen again.

"It is devastating for both the local community and The Churches Conservation Trust when incidents like this take place. We are trying to open this space for community use and the time and cost of repairs will delay this process. Once the repair work has been carried out we look forward to more community events taking place in this beautiful space once again."

PC Jon Brunt from Wiltshire Police has said that his officers are investigating:

"These people have caused thousands of pounds of damage to the Church, intricate stone work and carvings have been ruined by their reckless actions.

"The destruction and mess that confronted the lady who is trying to provide this new facility for the local community, was devastating. We ask that anyone who has information regarding these incidents comes forward."

Anyone who was in the area of St Mary's Church on Wednesday (1st June) in the evening/night time or who has any information on those responsible is asked to contact PC Jon Brunt at Amesbury Police Station on 101. Alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where details may be left anonymously if preferred.

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