Grave situation as vandals hit church

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VANDALS have attacked a village church – daubing graffiti over gravestones and a medieval oak door.

They even set fires – causing grass damage – at St Helen’s Church in Mareham le Fen last week.

Some gravestones were painted with images of a sexual nature, while a four-letter swear word was also sprayed across another and the church’s oak door.

Police have labelled the crime as ‘appalling’ with officers’ shifts being altered in a bid to up the hunt for the culprits.

A police spokesman said: “It is believed local youths are responsible and the local Neighbourhood Policing Team will be pro-actively targeting the area.”

Canon Alec Boyd, who preaches at St Helen’s, said: “The group has been hanging around the churchyard and they’re setting themselves up to be caught.

“People are very upset about it and they are watching out.”

The damaged gravestones are dated, but descendants of the deceased are still living in the village.

Canon Boyd added: “It’s always very sad when people entrust their loved ones to the care of the church, and other people in the community destroy that happy relationship. We’re all saddened by it – it’s stupidity that doesn’t do any good.

“The church is keen to have a good relationship with the youngsters in the village and that has not changed.”

Canon Boyd believes the vandals are those who daubed graffiti on the bus shelter in the village earlier this month.

“The handwriting is the same,” he said.

Pcso Alison Evans, of the Coninsgby, Woodhall Spa and Tattershall NPT, added: “This is a horrible incident that has shocked the community and caused great distress to the church warden and the rector.

“Any mindless vandalism is upsetting but the nature of the drawings and language in this case is especially offensive.”

l Anyone with information should call Lincolnshire Police on 0300 111 03000 quoting incident number 182 of May 23.