Grave vandal wrecks churchyard

A VANDAL damaged more than 30 gravestones in a churchyard while Evensong took place.Shocked churchwardens had the distressing task last night of surveying the damage and warning relatives that memorials to their loved ones had been attacked.

A VANDAL damaged more than 30 gravestones in a churchyard while Evensong took place.

Shocked churchwardens had the distressing task last night of surveying the damage and warning relatives that memorials to their loved ones had been attacked.

The church in Monewden, near Woodbridge, which has just 90 residents, was targeted on Sunday evening during a service by a vandal who systematically pushed over gravestones.

While the congregation of 14 worshipped at Evensong the vandal caused hundreds of pounds of damage as he rampaged through the churchyard.


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The damage was discovered after the congregation had finished their cup of coffee and completed the washing up. David Grier, a churchwarden, said yesterday: ''We will have to get a stonemason in to give us advice on how to repair them.

''The church has been here for 700 to 800 years and I do not think there has been vandalism or problems there before at all.

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''I have no reason to know why somebody should do such a crazy thing. It does not make sense. I can not see what anybody could get out of it and it is a very odd situation to have someone going round knocking down gravestones.

''They must have been physically quite fit to do it, as the headstones are heavy, and they must have been dedicated to go round so many.''

It was mostly new headstones, which were not so embedded in the ground, that were damaged and Mr Grier said it was particularly upsetting for those families who had recently had a bereavement to now be told of the vandalism.

The worshippers managed to stand up again 20 gravestones but others were too badly damaged and had to be left alone.

Bellringers arrived at St Mary's church at 6pm to practise before the hour-long service started at 6.30pm.

Mr Grier said an unknown man had been spotted hanging around the churchyard before the service and the noise of a car departing had been heard before the end of Evensong.

He said the village worked hard to support a church and residents were very disappointed by the vandalism. They urged other villages to keep alert to ensure a similar crime did not happen again.

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