A CHURCH staff member has described recent vandalism of medieval statues as “unsettling.”

Peter Hayes, warden at St Mary’s, Elmley Castle, one of a number of churches to be targeted in a recent vandalism spree said it’s hard to imagine why someone would target a church.

He said: "By and large people respect churches, they are there for everybody, faith or none and it’s part of our heritage. People come from a long way to look at the churches. It’s just not nice, it leaves the whole community feeling vulnerable.”

He spoke out after stone memorials inside the church were damaged on November 6. These include a 900 year old font as well as two other stone memorials – including the Savage Memorial, which is 600 years old and the Coventry Memorial, which is 300 years old.

Between November 5 and November 7, a number of magazines within St Barbara’s Church, in Elmley Road, Ashton Under Hill, Evesham, were defaced and at St Michael’s and All Angels Church, in Bricklehampton, Pershore, a brass candlestick was broken. Officers investigating these incidents believe they are linked.

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Mr Hayes said the ornaments at St Mary’s Church are yet to be repaired. He added: “We contacted our insurers and they have contacted the restoration company, but we haven’t heard anymore details. The damage was to pretty old things. It could be years before they are restored. There aren’t that many people who can do that kind of work. We have decided to open the church because it’s Christmas time and people need to be able to go in but we are keeping our fingers crossed.”

An image of a man seen near the church at the time of the offences has been released by police.

PCSO Julie Pardoe said: “We would like to speak to anyone who may have information of these incidents to contact us. We would particularly like to hear from a male who was seen in the area on a pushbike with panniers.”

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call West Mercia Police on 101 quoting incident number 327s of 7/11/19.