Priest’s sadness at vandal attack on Barnsley church

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A PARISH priest has spoken of his distress after a Grade II listed church building was targeted by vandals who sprayed it with their ‘tags’.

It is believed vandals struck at the Parish Church of St Peter the Apostle & St John the Baptist, on Doncaster Road, Barnsley, sometime overnight Friday February 27.

The Church - described by the writer John Betjeman as a hidden gem - has helped shape the history of the town.

It played a major role in the formation of Barnsley Football Club, and hosted some of the first planning meetings to launch Barnsley Hospice.

Parish Priest, Father Paul Cartwright said: “It’s always distressing when people become victims of crime, but it is especially sad when a building such as St Peters, which is at the heart of its community and has helped inform the town’s history, is damaged in such a way.

“Such mindless acts like this help to reinforce people’s negative perceptions of our neighbourhood and undermine the strength of love and community here.

“And it can only add to the distress of those who come into Church for a funeral, and to pray for and say goodbye to their loved ones.

“The last thing they want to see is such a lack of respect,” he added.

The graffiti tags on the side of the church have also been seen further along Doncaster Road. Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or South Yorkshire Police.

In a separate attack, arsonists damaged the disused Seacroft Congregational Church in Leeds by setting fire to hymn books on Monday evening.