Headstones attacked by ‘mindless vandals’ in raid on Croydon churchyard
andals have smashed up more than 20 headstones at a south London church yard in an act of decribed as “wanton destruction”.
The attack on Croydon Minster took place on three separate occasions over the Easter holidays, church officials said.
Some of the headstones had been in the churchyard for more than 500 years although the bodies below had been removed some years ago.
The vandals struck between April 12 and 15 leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
Police are hunting the vandals who targeted the historic church which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
Church verger Denise Mead told the Standard: “It’s wanton violence against a church, it has left me speechless. It is the act of a mindless vandal, we are heartbroken. The vicar cannot believe it.
“They struck three times when the church was not busy. I do not think it was children as you would need a sledgehammer to inflict the damage that has been done. We think 25 gravestones have been badly damaged. The bodies were moved a long time ago but the headstones remain and are historic. It’s such a tragedy. What make it possible worse is that they struck oiver a religious holiday. It’s just not possible to comprehend.”
There is a CCTV camera in the church grounds but it only covers the roof, which is covered by lead which is often targeted by thieves.
Officers are now trawling cameras in nearby streets for sightings of the vandals.
Mrs Mead added: “Please come forward with any information we are desperate to find this person or people before they strike again. No one we know has a grudge against us, we just don’t understand it.”
A Met police spokeman said: “Police were called on 14 April to a report of criminal damage at Croydon Minster. A number of gravestones were smashed and destroyed. Officers have attended and spoken to staff to gather information. Enquiries are ongoing.”