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Vandals cause £10,000 of damage to Warwickshire's oldest church

Wellesbourne Airfield
Wellesbourne Airfield

The attack at is just the latest in a string of suspected attacks on churches in our region with St Michael’s Church in Broadway and Holy Ascension Church in Mappleborough Green also suffering damage in recent weeks

At St Peter’s three stained glass windows, two plain windows and a floodlight were damaged between 11am and 3pm on 6 January by somebody believed to have been hurling stones.

It is not the first time the Saxon church has been targeted by criminals, in 2014 money was stolen from a wall safe and a bench in the churchyard was smashed up.

Norrie Moore, lay reader at St Peter’s Church said: “We were absolutely horrified when we found that the first window had been smashed and when we found the other four the next day it was horrible.

“That somebody could do something like that, it’s just so vindictive, this is a place of worship. It will cost around £10,000 to repair the damage, we’re not a rich church by any means so it will undoubtedly hit us financially and we will have to pay the excess on the insurance.

“We locked the church for a week or so after the attack but it would be a shame if we had to continue to do so, we get lots of people coming to visit because it’s the oldest church in Warwickshire.”

Norrie said she would like to warn other parishes in the area to stay vigilant to try and prevent any similar attacks.

Churchwarden Steve Wiseman added: “Obviously it’s a historic building and we’re extremely upset. We’re covered by the insurance but our premiums are already very high because it’s such an old building.

“We have had a glass expert from Redditch visit us since it happened, who luckily took detailed pictures of the stained glass windows on a previous visit, so we can recreate the windows.”

The damage to one of the windows is particularly upsetting because it was created by the late artist Margaret Traherne, renowned for her stained glass windows at Coventry Cathedral.

Leader of Wootton Wawen Parish Council Cllr Mike Crowther said: “I’m not that surprised by what’s happened, it’s not unusual for this to happen to churches, but the disappointing thing for us is the apparent lack of police response.

“These windows are very old and it takes skilled craftspeople to repair them. The church has been targeted before and the response was to increase security and I wonder if this will be the reaction again.”

Claire Strachan, church buildings officer at the Diocese of Coventry, added: “The Church of England is responsible for looking after nearly half of all the Grade I listed buildings in England. This work is faithfully carried out by thousands of highly dedicated local volunteers, like those at St Peter’s Church Wootton Wawen. Mindless vandalism is deeply distressing for all who care for these lovely buildings.”

Warwickshire Police confirmed that they have spoken to church officials and are reviewing CCTV footage.

A spokesperson for Warwickshire Police said: “Warwickshire Police is committed to protecting communities and solving crime. Anyone who feels that they have not received a satisfactory service should contact the Warwickshire Police Professional Standards Department, details of which can be found on the website.”

If you have any information about the incident or witnessed anything suspicious at St Peter’s Church contact police on 101 quoting incident 341 of 6 January.

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