POLICE are treating acts of "destructive vandalism" and theft at a church near Kidderminster as a hate crime. 

Officers have launched an appeal after St Peter’s Church, in Upper Arley and the neighbouring Arley Arboretum were both broken into and vandalised overnight on the 23rd and 24th of December.

While inside the church, the intruders urinated in the chancel next to the altar, smashed a leaded window, damaged a piano lid and two pews, and tore off the door to the empty wall safe.

They also broke into the bell tower and stole a set of handbells, two bell ropes, a clock, and the bell tower donation box.

The church incident is being treated as a hate crime.

READ MORE: Thieves 'relieve themselves' by altar during church raid

Kidderminster Shuttle: St Peter's Church, Upper Arley. Photo: Claire Evans (Camera Club)St Peter's Church, Upper Arley. Photo: Claire Evans (Camera Club)

A spokesperson for the church said: "This was destructive vandalism with no thought to the folks who work hard for both organisations to provide amenities for the community."

During the same night, the walls inside the arboretum were spray painted with graffiti tags and other areas daubed with white paint.  

A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: "Officers have attended the scene and are investigating. It is not yet known if the two incidents are related but it is a line of enquiry.

"Anyone who has any information is urged to call 101 or visit our website, quoting incident 177i of 24 December, 2021 or report it online via our website www.westmerciapolice.uk/tua/tell-us-about/

"Alternatively, if you have information but don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers. It is 100% anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call or IP address. You can contact them online or by calling 0800 555 111."