VANDALS caused thousands of pounds' worth of damage at a church last night when they tried to batter down the door.

Police are investigating a number of incidents at St Mary's Church in Tidworth, including one in which intruders entered during the night and left behind pools of vomit, litter and drinks bottles.

The Churches Conservation Trust are in the process of opening up the church for use by the community, but plans are being disrupted by the vandalism.

In last night's attack, the vandals tried break into the church by ramming the door with a cart left in the foyer.

They caused significant damage to the wood and surrounding stonework.

PC Jon Brunt said: "These people have caused thousands of pounds of damage to the Church, intricate stone work and carvings have been ruined by their reckless actions.

"The destruction and mess that confronted the lady, who is trying to provide this new facility for the local community, was devastating. We ask that anyone who has information regarding these incidents comes forward."

Anyone who was in the area of St Mary's Church yesterday evening/night time or who has any information on those responsible is asked to contact PC Jon Brunt at Amesbury Police Station on 101.

Alternatively call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 where details may be left anonymously if preferred.

Meriel O’Dowd, Conservation Project Manager at The Churches Conservation Trust explains:

"Sadly, on Wednesday, June 1 one of our volunteers reported an attempted break-in at St Mary’s Church in South Tidworth, resulting in damage to the front door, surrounding stone work and a funeral bier.

"Once we have fully assessed the extent of this damage we will undertake the work to repair this beautiful church.

"Whilst we operate an ‘open churches policy’ – it is our belief that a historic church in our care is only properly conserved if it can be enjoyed, understood and used by all – we will temporarily close St Mary’s until  Wednesday, June 8, so we can put in place security measures to ensure that this does not happen again.

"It is devastating for both the local community and The Churches Conservation Trust when incidents like this take place.

"We are trying to open this space for community use - the time spent and cost of repairs will delay this process somewhat.

"Once the repair work has been carried out we look forward to more community events taking place in this wonderful space once again."

If you are interested in volunteering at St Mary’s Church please register your interest with Ed McGregor on