THE treasurer of a church which was raided by vandals has said it ruined Christmas and upset the whole community.

Thieves smashed their way into St Peter's Church in Upper Arley just before Christmas, and even urinated next to the altar.

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 incident is being treated as a hate crime by police. Vandals also targeted the neighbouring Arley Arboretum.

The church estimates it will cost around £1000 to repair the damage.

Church treasurer Louvain Beer said she was distraught after seeing the damage.

She said: “It was a mixture of sadness and anger. It ruined my Christmas

“As treasurer I’m going to have to find the cash. The fact that they have been smoking in there and drinking and relieving themselves. The whole village has taken it personally.

“One of the ladies in the village organised a clean-up party. People just came and helped and it was amazing.

“They’ve all pulled together because it’s their church. It’s their bells and we want them back.”

A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: "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

"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."