Vandals strike at beautiful stately home near Ipswich during restoration
- Credit: Archant
Vandals attacked one of Suffolk's most spectacular stately homes - smashing a window and damaging period decorations during its restoration.
Shrubland Hall, in Barham to the north-west of Ipswich, was targeted in two incidents within a matter of days.
In the first incident between 11.40pm and 11.55pm on Saturday, May 1, the occupier of the 18th century Georgian mansion disturbed raiders - but not before items and decorations had been damaged.
A window was then smashed at some point between Sunday, May 2 and Wednesday, May 5.
The hall has suffered vandalism in the past, with other incidents including damage to original features, graffiti being sprayed around the grounds and people trespassing.
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Pc Rob Thorn, from Suffolk police, said: "Properties and sites undergoing renovation can often be dangerous places.
"Shrubland Hall is currently being restored in order to preserve its original features and anyone who is caught vandalising the property will be dealt with appropriately.
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"Damage to historic buildings and architecture can either never be restored or is often very expensive to repair.
"We would urge anyone who has witnessed any anti-social behaviour near or within the grounds of the hall to contact us."
Shrubland Hall, which was built in the 18th century, was bought by Muhammad Farmer for more than £6million in 2009.
There were previously plans to reopen the hall as a Hilton hotel, but the bid was never successful.
It was at one stage turned into a hotel - but it closed in September 2016, less than a year after opening, following negative customer reviews.
John Whitehead, district councillor for Claydon and Barham, said: "Any vandalism is disgraceful, but it is particularly disgraceful at such a valued asset like the building at Shrubland.
"It is very disappointing as it is such a beautiful building and has such lovely grounds. But the building does seem to be going to waste and it is a shame that some better use can't be found for such an asset to the community."
Shrubland Hall was also used in the First World War as a convalescent home and brigade headquarters during the Second World War.
Anyone with any information or who saw anything suspicious should contact Suffolk police, quoting crime reference number 37/22361/21.