KIND-HEARTED wardens helped restore a church after vandals struck in Lawford.

A group targeted St Mary’s Church on Saturday, with a large candle hacked to pieces and coffee and tea thrown around the building.

When wardens arrived for Sunday service the following day, they found the mess. Thankfully they were able to clean it up in time for services and parishioners.

Rev Simon Heron praised the wardens for their quick thinking.

He said: “They acted very quickly and did extremely well.

“We have a very large candle called a pascal that sits next to the altar and is used for baptisms which, to use the word my warden used, was hacked.

“It’s broken so we have removed it. They had also turned the heating up, although it wasn’t on, and thrown around tea and coffee we leave for walkers at the back of the church.

“It was fairly low level stuff. It’s just damaging and it obviously costs us to repair it.

“We don’t mind people coming in, it’s why the church is open, but it is disappointing.”

The church has only been targeted by criminals once before when a collection box was stolen a number of years ago. The culprit was caught.

St Mary’s Church is kept open all year round as it lies on the Essex Way and walkers often drop in to warm up with a drink.

Because of this, the vandals had easy access.

Rev Heron said it would not put them off keeping the church open for those who need it.

He said: “We may be out of the way but the church is well visited and we have a very good relationship with the community.

“I suspect those responsible are not people we know. I would be surprised if it were.

“The church absolutely will not be closed, it’s the last thing we want to do. It is important it is left open so people can come and spend some quiet time.”