Vandals cause £10k of damage in attack on Carmarthen's St Peter's Church
VANDALS desecrated graves before using the broken headstones to smash a 149-year-old window in an attack described as "the worst yet" at Carmarthen's St Peter's Church.
Up to £10,000 worth of damage is estimated to have been caused in the late night attack — sparking fresh calls for tighter security measures from its vicar, the Rev Leigh Richardson.
He said the attack on the large north window was particularly devastating for the congregation, which is trying to raise funds to secure its future and become more integrated in the community with events and exhibitions.
"This is a kick in the teeth for us and our congregation," he said.
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"The window is inscribed with the date 1863 and will need to be specially worked upon.
"Two panes were smashed — a lower one and one above it.
"It looks like whoever did it has smashed a burial stone from the front of the church and used bits of it to throw at the window.
"I would say they were trying to break in as the wire mesh covering the window has been bent upwards.
"That suggests that they were looking for a way into the church.
"Also the desecration of graves is awful and there's one section of society responsible for it."
A member of the congregation reportedly heard and saw two culprits fleeing the churchyard at around 9pm.
An outside floodlight has also had grave masonry thrown through it, and a vestry window smashed — mounting up the repair costs to the church, which belongs to the diocese of St David's.
Rev Richardson said it was the worst attack on the church he had seen.
He added: "We have had ongoing anti-social behaviour here over recent months but nothing on this scale.
"We had the cockerel weather vane stolen two years ago but eventually that was returned.
"We just feel it's one thing after another here, while all the time we are trying to raise funds for the church."
Reverend Richardson said he is calling on town police to increase its patrols around the far end of King Street around the church.
"There is CCTV at the top end of King Street, but nothing down our end of the street.
"It's the same on the Spilman Street side of the church, there is no CCTV coverage.
"I want the police to look at this and to get cameras, the church needs them."
Inspector Steve Lee at Carmarthen's Friars Park police station, speaking about tightening security measures around the church, said: "The CCTV can be moved around that area and covers the St Peter's car park and church when manned.
"However, at the time of this attack it was not manned.
"Officer patrols are regular in the area and at weekends there is the town Nightlight scheme with its volunteers in the area."
He added it was unfortunate the incident was a midweek one when CCTV was not manned but said officers were investigating the incident.