Vandalism to a church's nativity scene, including the decapitation of its Joseph figurine, has left its reverend "distraught, saddened and bewildered".

All Saints Church in Chevallier Street has had its annual nativity scene damaged, just four days after the display went up.

The vandalism caused damage to the wooden structure holding the scene, along with the mannequins being dismembered, and Joseph's head being decapitated.

Reverend Danny Morrison said: "I was distraught, I was saddened, I was bewildered.

Ipswich Star: Members of the church with the figures that had been vandalisedMembers of the church with the figures that had been vandalised (Image: All Saints Church)

"Why would someone have so much hatred and desire to ruin and destroy something that is not their property, and something that is there to express someone's belief?

"I am also saddened because I know the amount of work put in by so many at the church, and also saddened for the people that have done it.

"What state might their life be like if they find pleasure in doing this? I am trying to make sense which I really can't."

Jane Cornish, a leader at the church, said: "It took a long time to put up the figures and make the display look nice, and we feel is something that is appreciated around here.

Ipswich Star: The display before it was vandalisedThe display before it was vandalised (Image: All Saints Church)

"It was so sad when we arrived in the morning to see it in bits on the ground.

"We have got other ready-made figures which we use inside but they are not as sturdy, and to fix the figures would take a long time because they really are in little bits."

The nativity scene has been running for the past five years, with damage happening to the nativity a few years ago, but not to the same extent.

Ipswich Star: The scene after it had been damagedThe scene after it had been damaged (Image: All Saints Church)

Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Councillor for Westgate Ward where All Saints is situated, said: "I'm really disappointed and saddened.

"It's hard to understand such mindless vandalism, especially as this is meant to remind people of Christmas.

"it is a gift to the neighbourhood as well, when people pass it and see it, it cheers them up."

Ipswich Star: Cllr Carole JonesCllr Carole Jones (Image: Newsquest)

Colin Kreidewolf, another IBC councillor for Westgate Ward said: "It is very distressing.

"The church put up a display every year and it is lovely, so it is distressing and concerning to see that people feel it is okay to vandalise.

"I will get in touch with the church to see if there's anything we can do.

Ipswich Star: Cllr Colin KreidewolfCllr Colin Kreidewolf (Image: Charlotte Bond)