Vandals have broken gravestones and caused other damage at a graveyard in Hove.
One of the councillors for the area has condemned the vandalism, police are investigating and the Rev Dan Henderson told ITV Meridian that he wanted to help those responsible.
Memorial plaques were cracked, a wall was damaged and planters were smashed in the Saturday afternoon spree.
Mr Henderson, the vicar of St Andrew’s, said: “We don’t really know why it happened.
“We expect people may have been under the influence of drink or drugs or may have just been angry.
“And at St Andrews we just want to love those people and love our whole community but we also want our churchyard to be a place of peace and a place where people can come and relax safely.”
Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson, who represents Central Hove, said that the scenes in the churchyard were “absolutely sickening to see”.
He said: “If the perpetrators are found and caught, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“This type of behaviour has to be unreservedly condemned and I would appeal to anyone with information to contact Sussex Police immediately.
“To go to visit the grave of a deceased family member and to be met with this, it’s absolutely deplorable.
“Targeting a place of worship is inexcusable at the best of times and we are clearly not in the best of times.
“The pandemic has, for the most part, brought out the very best in people with individuals, charities, churches and other community groups coming together to offer assistance to anyone who needs it.
“St Andrew’s Church has been a big part of that positive response, offering support within the local community.
“So it is an absolute disgrace to see it being targeted by mindless vandals and, along with many others in the community, I am outraged to see the damage done to the gravestones.
“Any vandalism is bad for a community. But the fact that these people have targeted those who try to reach out and help society’s most vulnerable is particularly galling.
“It was, however, encouraging to hear about the sense of defiance from the church that they would not let this get them down.
“I do not want the area around the church becoming a hotspot for anti-social behaviour.
“I will be talking to our excellent community policing team about increasing police presence in the area in a bid to stamp out any anti-social behaviour and also other measures to ensure that this type of needless vandalism is nipped in the bud.”
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