Police say parish councillors did not provide sufficient proof to prosecute youngster for vandal attack on historic Fenland church
A YOUNGSTER named and shamed for allegedly smashing windows at an historic Fenland church escaped prosecution because parish councillors who reported him did not provide sufficient proof.
“As there was no evidence it was them, we cannot actually proceed with a prosecution unless further information is given to us,” said a police spokesman.
“We did investigate these incidents and a PC spoke to three local lads.”
Wisbech St Mary Parish Council got in touch with police following the smashing of a window at the Guyhirn Chapel of Ease last autumn and have since seen a further 15 windows smashed at the 17th century building.
“This is an ongoing problem which started with the breaking of one window and it was reported to police with the name of the culprit,” says a report compiled by the parish council.
“This was followed by the breaking of eight windows and then a further three windows and the question was asked of the police how long have we got to wait before this matter is resolved.”
The council believes youngsters, some as young as 10 years old, attacked the windows with stones, concrete and bricks.
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The vandalism took place on three separate occasions as the inside of the chapel was being refurbished and prompted both the parish council and The Friends of the Chapel to fire off letters to Cambridgeshire’s Chief Constable, Simon Parr.
Councillor Brian Payne, also chairman of the Friends of Guyhirn Chapel of Ease, said: “We are constantly keeping up the pressure on the police about the inadequacy of policing in the village. Considering the rural area they have to cover it is quite inadequate and people are not getting value for money.”
The Churches Conservation Trust, which is responsible for the chapel, is not looking to prosecute the youngsters but is asking for donations from their families towards the cost of repairs. It says any offers will be treated in complete confidence
The first service in the refurbished chapel will be the annual Epiphany service tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm.
Mr Payne said: “It is very disappointing that this has happened and the irony is that it took place while the chapel was being redecorated.
“We are sorry it has happened but the chapel is fighting back and the service will go ahead. The inside looks very smart now but the windows covered up with sticky tape look terrible and that is a great pity”
The Puritan chapel which is in the centre of the village dates back to 1660 and was close to demolition before the formation of The Friends in the 1970s.
It was brought back to life and a service of thanksgiving was held at the restored building in 1975.