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Church stained glass and vehicles are damaged by suspected air rifle

PUBLISHED: 17:05 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:06 23 August 2018

St Mary's Church in Badwell Ash was damaged, along with a number of vehicles, during a spate of vandalism in west Suffolk Picture: GOOGLEMAPS

St Mary's Church in Badwell Ash was damaged, along with a number of vehicles, during a spate of vandalism in west Suffolk Picture: GOOGLEMAPS

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Church stained glass dating to the 14th century has been damaged with a suspected rifle in a spate of criminal damage in a west Suffolk village.

St Mary's Church in Badwell Ash has suffered damage to six segments of glass, including stained glass, possibly caused by an air rifle Picture: STEPHEN ROSESt Mary's Church in Badwell Ash has suffered damage to six segments of glass, including stained glass, possibly caused by an air rifle Picture: STEPHEN ROSE

St Mary’s Church in Badwell Ash, near Walsham le Willows, was targeted - along with about 12 vehicles - in what is believed to have been a BB or pellet air rifle attack overnight between Friday, August 17, and Saturday, August 18.

Churchwarden Stephen Rose said some stained glass at the 700-year-old church had been damaged and would need to be replaced, adding their donation box had also been broken into three times this year.

The vehicles were all parked near the church and are understood to belong to residents.

Insurance may be able to cover the damage to the church window, but as claiming could put their premium up, Mr Rose said they may hold a fundraising event to cover the cost.

St Mary's Church in Badwell Ash has suffered damage to six segments of glass, including stained glass, possibly caused by an air rifle Picture: STEPHEN ROSESt Mary's Church in Badwell Ash has suffered damage to six segments of glass, including stained glass, possibly caused by an air rifle Picture: STEPHEN ROSE

“We do as much fundraising as we can in St Mary’s a year and we are always struggling. All churches are. There’s the small amount of money we have come in through donations, selling our books and postcards.

“It’s [the damage is] really disheartening. We approached the diocese about putting cameras up and that just opened up a whole can of worms.”

He added: “I have been church warden here for three years and this is the first year we have had any problems at all. Hopefully within a month or couple of months it will pass.”

As well as the damage caused to the church and cars, he said the incident could have caused “serious injuries”.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the criminal damage to about 12 vehicles in The Street in Badwell Ash, as well as a Vauxhall and a Citroen in The Street, Pakenham, a Volkswagen, a Ford and a Land Rover in The Street, Great Livermere, a Toyota and a Renault in West Road, Bury St Edmunds, and the window of a Skoda was also smashed in Maynewater Lane, Bury St Edmunds.

Officers are exploring the possibility that these incidents may be linked.

Anyone who witnessed any of the incidents or saw any suspicious behaviour should contact Suffolk police on 101, quoting crime reference 37/47027/18 or call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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