Vandals attack church 50 times in 18 months

St Mary's church warden Viv Eaves with one of the windows.
St Mary's church warden Viv Eaves with one of the windows.
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Yobs are repeatedly smashing the stained glass windows of an under-siege Blackpool church leaving a repair bill running into thousands of pounds.

Vandals are believed to have targeted St Mary’s Church on Stonycroft Avenue, South Shore more than 50 times in the last 18 months, with incidents increasing in frequency in recent weeks.

St Mary's church warden Viv Eaves with one of the windows.

St Mary's church warden Viv Eaves with one of the windows.

Just this week three windows, dating back to when the church was built in the 1930s, were broken.

Each time a window pane is smashed, it costs the church its £100 insurance excess.

Funds raised from collections made during services are now being used to help bankroll the ever-growing repair bill.

Church warden Viv Eaves said: “Nearly every week a window is put through, and we don’t get £100 on the collection plate every week.

“I can’t understand it. We have no idea what has sparked it off at all and I can’t understand what these people are getting from it.

“I wouldn’t like to put a figure on what we’ve spent repairing windows so far.”

Last week a stone was thrown through the window in the vicar’s vestry, landing next to where he would have been sitting.

The windows, made up of separate panes of stained glass, are in the process of being restored at a cost of £5,500, and will boast a polycarbonate coating which will prevent damage from stones being thrown.

But the man working to replace and improve the windows today said he can’t work fast enough before another window is broken.

Aaron Whiteside, of Whiteside Windows, said: “I’ve been here three weeks and I’ve seen 13 panes of glass broken – some of those were windows I’d already started restoring. It’s a crying shame.”

Mrs Eaves, 70, said the windows were being put through during the night.

She said: “The police are told about each incident and they are monitoring the area.

“We are in the process of getting a letter together to send to our neighbours, asking them to be vigilant.”

Police confirmed they were aware of a spate of incidents in recent months, including overnight on May 13, April 29 and March 29.

A spokeswoman said: “We’d urge anyone that has seen anybody acting suspiciously around the church, or with any information to get in touch.”

Contact police on 101.

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