‘Petty, mindless vandalism’ sees Suffolk church visitor book attacked twice

Church Warden Jenny Cox with the visitor book that has had a page torn out of it. Picture: SARAH LU

Church Warden Jenny Cox with the visitor book that has had a page torn out of it. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk church leaders have been left confused and irritated by the repeated vandalism of their visitor book.

The book at St Nicholas Church in Hintlesham, west of Ipswich, has had pages ripped out in an apparent fit of temper twice in recent months.

Church warden Jenny Cox, who discovered the latest scene of destruction on Tuesday morning, said it was just “wilful vandalism”.

“It’s the second time this has happened,” she added.

“It’s only very minor and we don’t want to make a fuss about it but it is extremely irritating.”

Ms Cox said the visitor book was a “lovely record” filled with messages from people offering comments about what they like about the 13th century church.

The first vandalism happened in October or November last year when the book was almost filled with messages.

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“It was just about on its last page and someone ripped out several pages and tore the book,” Ms Cox added.

“It must have taken some doing because its quite a hefty book so it was obviously done in some temper.

“We put it to one side and bought another one,

“It only had a few entries in the first page and we have now found that’s also been torn out,

“This time they must have gone to some trouble to find the book because it was covered in plastic as we’re having work done one the roof.”

The vandalism was carried out sometime between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, when Ms Cox found it.

Christopher Hudson, whose Belstead Brook division at Suffolk County Council includes Hintlesham, said the vandalism was concerning.

“It’s another example of petty,mindless vandalism that calls for zero tolerance,” he added.

It comes just a few weeks after vandals struck at St Mary’s Church in Mendlesham, near Stowmarket, where nativity statues of the Three Wise Men were decapitated in what was branded at the time “senseless vandalism”.

Suffolk police received reports of the Hintelsham crime on Tuesday morning. “An unknown person has ripped out the front page of the visitors book in the church,” a spokesman added.

Anyone with information should contact Suffolk police on 101, quoting 37/9966/18.