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Church vandalism attacked by neighbours

PUBLISHED: 12:56 29 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

NEIGHBOURS of St Nicholas' Church in Ipswich have spoken out against young vandals wrecking tombstones.

Skateboarders are being blamed for damage to the stonework behind the disused church.

NEIGHBOURS of St Nicholas' Church in Ipswich have spoken out against young vandals wrecking tombstones.

Skateboarders are being blamed for damage to the stonework behind the disused church.

Stone has been chipped from monuments and brickwork, and graffiti has been sprayed onto tombs. Rubbish also litters the small yard at the back of the church, next to the Cromwell Square car park.

And all this is happening just yards away from the much-used skatepark built as avenue for the youngsters.

One nearby resident, who did not want to be named, said: "There are always young teenagers hanging around, making a hell of a row on their skateboards."

Paul Sermons, a security supervisor at Willis, where offices overlook the church, said: "You get 20 or 30 kids out there every day. They get up on top of the tombs."

He added that vandals had also been seen climbing onto the roof of the church and breaking windows.

Nick Clarke, spokesman for the diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: "It's been a problem for a while, but it's coming to an end."

Church authorities are planning to turn St. Nicholas's, which has not been a working church since the early 1980s, into a resource centre.

He said: "That will involve a complete re-landscaping of the area. If our plans are approved by the council, the churchyard area will be turned into a garden."

He said skateboarders would not be able to use the churchyard once the concrete paving had been replaced by turf.

The problem has existed for years , but Mr Clarke praised the Bridge Park skateboard facility on Grafton Way, saying: "The problem is not nearly as bad since the skate park was built.

"We would encourage skateboarders to use it."

N What do you think about these attacks? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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