Steep cost of vandalism for Crowland Abbey
Church leaders are facing an eye-watering bill of nearly £132,000 for repairs to Crowland Abbey after a spate of vandalism there, the Spalding Guardian can reveal.
Figures supplied by Crowland Parochial Church Council (PCC) to parish councillors, seen by the Guardian, showed that guards for the Abbey's north windows alone will cost more than £123,000.
The figures also include nearly £3,000 for repairs to a kitchen window and £4,700 to install CCTV equipment.
Seven windows at the Abbey were smashed during an outbreak of disorder in Crowland last month.
This followed a spate of trouble in the town during February when around 20 cars were vandalised and rocks were thrown at a house.
The Reverend Charles Brown, priest-in-charge of Crowland Abbey, said: "We had some trouble with local youths who vandalised the windows by breaking glass in them.
"They need to be prepared so that guards can be put on them.
"But the bigger expense is from two larger windows that also have broken glass in them, as as well reinforced iron that is beginning to rust.
"This is causing the stonework to crack and fall out.
"So we tried to give Crowland Parish Council a picture of our financial picture, particularly for the CCTV cameras.
Coun Nigel Pepper, Lincolnshire County Council member for Crowland, said: "Despite the efforts of police, parish, district and county councils, as well as the Positive Futures team, there is still vandalism occurring in Crowland.
"It is disheartening to hear that vandals are now focusing on the peaceful and tranquil Crowland Abbey, a building that we are all so proud of.
"The smashing of windows, including one in memory of the late Reverend John Crust, by these mindless vandals shows a violent disrespect for this magnificent building.
"To see windows boarded up at Crowland Abbey is a sorry sight and sends out the wrong message to visitors to the town.
"This desecration of the building, caused by just a few whose actions are beneath contempt, will cost thousands of pounds to put right."
"I, personally, will make Lincolnshire's Police & Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, aware of the situation."
Repairs to the memorial window alone will cost more than £800 and Crowland PCC has asked the parish council for a donation to help with the repair costs and CCTV installation.
Mr Brown said: "The windows are now boarded up and although don't know the full cost of the repairs, we'll have to make an appeal to the community for help with this unanticipated vandalism which has caused us to be having CCTV cameras put in."
Coun Bryan Alcock, chairman of the parish council's finance committee, said: "It is devastating to see the damage caused by a few mindless individuals.
"A few minutes of anti-establishment behaviour creates hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage, the cost of which others have to bear.
"It is totally pointless and sad to see a few members of society stooping to such inexcusable acts.
"In some instances, parental responsibility seems to be lacking and in others, a complete denial that their children could possibly be involved."
Coun Gary Taylor, portfolio holder for communities and facilities at South Holland District Council, said: "We are actively working with police and parish council members to break the cycle of anti-social behaviour and to tackle its root causes.
"Youth services are about to enter into discussion with the parish council to look at providing additional provision for young people in Crowland.
“Not only is the district council working with these agencies but we are also reaching out to young people in the area and there are a number of schemes we are actively engaged with in a bid to re-educate youngsters.
"In the meantime, we would encourage residents to report any incidents to our dedicated Community Safety and Enforcement team on 01775 761161.”
Alternatively, anyone with information about vandalism in Crowland should call police on 101.