September 22 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 28, 2014
Burglars who desecrated a 14th Century church by burning an altar made for children have been accused of a “mindless act of Godless vandalism”.
The fire started after Wednesday’s mid-week communion at St Michael’s Church in Framlingham when thieves broke into the vestry and attempted to steal charity cash boxes.
Churchwarden Sandra Cartwright discovered the altar alight while tidying up after the intruders.
“It was so upsetting that anybody should want to damage our beautiful church and particularly distressing that it was a children’s altar being attacked,” she said.
The liturgical altar cloth and a stack of children’s pamphlets were destroyed in the blaze, however Mrs Cartwright’s call to the fire service spared the church from further damage.
She fears the consequences could have been far worse had the attack happened when no-one was there to protect the Grade I-listed building and its “priceless” contents. The church houses the Tudor tombs of the aristocratic Howard family and one of only eight remaining Thamar organs in existence.
It follows a “pattern of suspicious incidents” at the church, including minor thefts.
Suffolk Coastal councillor Christopher Hudson said many people were very upset by the events, and has condemned the attack as “a mindless act of Godless vandalism”.
Officers are eager to trace two men in their late teens or early 20s who were seen near the church in a blue Renault Megane between 11.15am and 11.30am on Wednesday.
Call Pc Carl Lawrence on 101 with information.