‘It’s a sad thing really’ - vandalism at village church and war memorial

Vandals have caused damage to Coates Church and war memorial.

Vandals have caused damage to Coates Church and war memorial. - Credit: Stuart Potts

Villagers have been left “really upset” after vandals smashed their church’s stained glass windows and “messed” with the war memorial.  

More than 10 rocks were thrown through three large windows at Holy Trinity Church in Coates between Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13. 

A “petroleum-based product” was also found on the grass of the village war memorial on Sunday, June 6, killing a patch of grass surrounding the monument.  

Damage at Coates war memorial. 

Damage at Coates war memorial. - Credit: Stuart Potts

Tricia Brookes, church warden, discovered the damage after finding stones down the aisle when arriving for Sunday service on June 13.  

“The church’s big window at the front now has 13 holes in it,” she said. “A neighbour said she saw some people running from the bus shelter across the green.”  


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Un-clear CCTV footage reportedly captures the group heading towards the church before launching stones at the window, however their faces are distorted.  

Damage to the far left window at Coates Church. 

Damage to the far left window at Coates Church. - Credit: Stuart Potts

“We’re really upset,” added Mrs Brookes. “The saddest thing is that obviously we’ve been struggling financially already due to Covid-19.  

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“We can’t afford to have the grass in the church yard cut so on the Saturday a group of volunteers came and helped us which was lovely. 

“You’d think ‘oh that’s a lovely thing in the community to help make the church look better’. 

General view of Coates Church. 

General view of Coates Church. - Credit: Stuart Potts

“Then you walk into church Sunday morning and somebody else has done a not nice thing. It’s just a sad thing really.” 

The church’s insurance has been made aware of the incident and volunteers will know any day soon if they will be receiving a pay-out for repairs.  

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said: “We were contacted on Sunday with reports of criminal damage at Holy Trinity Church in Coates.

Damage to the coloured stained glass window at Coates Church. 

Damage to the coloured stained glass window at Coates Church. - Credit: Stuart Potts

"Damage had been caused to a stained glass window between 5pm the previous day and 10am on Sunday. No arrests have been made.

"Anyone with information is urged to contact police via their web chat service https://bit.ly/3vsiYDw or online forms at www.cambs.police.uk/report quoting 35/36974/21. Anyone without internet access should call 101.”

General view of Coates war memorial.

General view of Coates war memorial. - Credit: Stuart Potts

Regarding recent damage at the war memorial, Mrs Brookes added: “There’s been some damage there, something has been spilt on the grass and it’s all dead.  

“It’s happened to a section of the grass and one of the seats has been messed with too, it makes you think.  

“If people wanted to sit in there and not be seen at night, they could be, they could quite happily hide away in there... it looks like lighter fuel spilt on the surface.”  

Damage at Coates Church. 

Damage at Coates Church. - Credit: Stuart Potts


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