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Church hit by vandals

PUBLISHED: 18:03 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:44 11 August 2010

WORSHIPPERS were shocked when they turned up for morning prayers and found their church daubed with graffiti. Vandals struck at Beacontree Heath Methodist Church in Broadway, Dagenham, between Friday, May 16 and Sunday May 18. They risked their lives by

WORSHIPPERS were shocked when they turned up for morning prayers and found their church daubed with graffiti.

Vandals struck at Beacontree Heath Methodist Church in Broadway, Dagenham, between Friday, May 16 and Sunday May 18.

They risked their lives by climbing onto the roof to spray painted 'tags' on the walls, including large scrawls above the front door, and even higher up on the dome just below the cross.

Terry Mirams, property steward at the church, said: "We left the building at about 10.30pm on Friday, and it wasn't noticed until they opened up for the morning service on Sunday.

"I felt extremely despondent when I saw it. We do our best to keep the church and its grounds looking tidy. You feel like giving up, but we've got to carry on.

"The hall is used by the community. All kinds of people use it - a country and western club, a dance club, and a cub group.

"It's there for the use of the community, and if we get extra expenses because of vandalism that gets passed on to them, it's a knock-on effect."

He said that it was the first major graffiti attack, although there had been some around the rear of the building.

Barking and Dagenham Council have offered to remove the graffiti.

In January last year, all the lead was ripped off the roof of the church, landing them with a repair bill of £3,500.

The lead was replaced with felt so as not to attract further thieves.

Pat Brown, pastoral leader, said: "I really felt heart broken and my friends are very distressed. It's desecration.

"The majority of our people are pensioners and we just can't afford to have any more disasters."

Sgt Geoff Waddoups of Whalebone safer neighbourhood team said one of the scrawls matches one recorded in their tag database.

"In the next week or so we should be able to speak to someone in connection with it," he said.


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