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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Cumbrian kids quizzed by police over church wrecking spree

Children as young as six have been quizzed by police after a church in Brampton was desecrated with gravestones hurled over and windows smashed.

Brampton church photo
Sgt Jon Oliphant at the church

Parishioners at Brampton Old Church were left shocked by the vandalism in which four youngsters toppled gravestones, smashed windows and dragged the altar cross out of the church, throwing it on the ground.

Five of the nine headstones damaged belonged to young children, including one for a 17-month-old-baby.

Brass candlesticks were broken, a vase damaged and a small amount of cash was stolen from the collection plate. Leaflets containing information about the 12th century church were also strewn around the graveyard.

The children smashed four leaded windows in the church between 11am and 2pm on Sunday, and at least one of them climbed inside.

The total damage caused is thought to run into thousands of pounds.

Sergeant Jon Oliphant from Brampton police said: “The boys aged six, seven, nine and 10 years old, live locally and have been spoken to by police in front of their parents.

“Each admitted their part in the offence and, because they are legally below the age of criminal responsibility, will be dealt with through restorative justice.

“This means they will have to face the people who have been most affected by this crime and understand the impact that their actions have had on others.

“It is hoped that this type of intervention will prevent any similar behaviour from happening again in the future.”

Inspector Diane Bradbury added: “In the city vandalism can slip by unnoticed but not in rural areas where it really affects the community. We will be offering reassurance to the victims and to the community.”

It is understood that one of the boys told a relative what had happened who then reported it.

Where possible the gravestones have been righted but some were broken and will need to be replaced.

It is understood it is the first time the church had been vandalsed in 38 years.

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