Church vandals say 'sorry' to congregation

PUBLISHED: 10:50 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 11 May 2010

TWO teenage vandals who damaged a village church apologised to the congregation during a service. The 15-year-old youths set off fire extinguishers at Bassingbourn Parish Church, causing more than £1,000 of damage. However, after they were identified, the

TWO teenage vandals who damaged a village church apologised to the congregation during a service.

The 15-year-old youths set off fire extinguishers at Bassingbourn Parish Church, causing more than £1,000 of damage.

However, after they were identified, they apologised to the church's 50-strong congregation, and agreed to help with cleaning the building.

The Rev Dr Donald McFadyen, vicar at the church, said: "The damage was caused on a Sunday afternoon. We're an open parish church, and you can access the building throughout the day.

"When I got in there it looked like the whole place had been covered in dust.

"I couldn't work out what had happened, but then I realised they had set off two fire extinguishers, one of which was a powder one."

The culprits were pinpointed by one of the church's neighbours, who spotted the boys, who both live in the village, running away from the scene, and recognised one of them

She called his parents, and when he was asked about it by them, he confessed.

The boys and their families visited the vicarage to apologise to Dr McFadyen in person, a gesture the vicar described as "extraordinary".

He said: "I knew it had cost the family something to do that.

"They came in and we were about an hour together, talking about it.

"The boys asked if there was anything else they could do, and I said it would be a good idea if they came into the Sunday service and apologised.

"It wasn't an easy thing to do for them, and I know they were very nervous.

"It made me quite emotional, and talking to other people afterwards, I know they did too."

The church had called the police about the incident.

However, in the light of the very public confession from the two boys, it is "unlikely" that they will be prosecuted.

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