A BELOVED church has been forced to close during the week after vandals smashed up the heating system, sockets and an electric piano.

After the attack at St Mary Magdalene, Rodborough’s parish church, leaders have decided to lock the doors of the building during the week, to

prevent any further damage.

“The church is usually kept open during the day so that people can come in freely to pray in the ancient building,” said Reverend Peter Francis.

“Visitors also come to see our distinctive stained glass, which includes the famous Thomas the Tank Engine window.”

Rev Francis said he was struggling to understand why the vandals chose to target the church.

“The damage was seemingly mindless, with our heating system and electrical sockets smashed, and the electronic piano which is used every Sunday in the 9am service smashed,” he said.

“We have been deeply saddened by the damage that has been done.”

Rev Francis said the church will be closed during the week for the time being, until measures can be put in place to ensure that it is safe for everyone.

“At the heart of the community, we are proud to have begun hosting intergenerational afternoon teas, and a children’s drama group in the church,” he added.

“This act of thoughtless vandalism has really upset everyone.

“We already have a £40,000 fundraising target for essential repairs to this sacred building, and adding work to this is very challenging for our small but extremely committed congregation.

“We are welcoming donations which will help us with our essential repairs, as well as cover the excess for the recent damage that is not covered by our insurance policy.”

Donations can be made via:


Commenting on the incident, a police spokesman said: “Police were called to Rodborough Parish Church shortly after 6.20pm on Tuesday, July 9 following reports of vandalism.

“It’s believed that offenders entered the church at some point between 10am and 9pm on Monday, July 8 before causing damage to an electrical switch and heating control unit.

“Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area during these times is asked to call 101 quoting incident number 410 of 8 July.”