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Bridport: Church vandals apologise to congregation
FOUR of the youngsters responsible for vandalising a Bridport church stood before its congregation on Sunday to apologise.
The quartet – whose images were captured on CCTV – agreed to take part in the new Restorative Justice scheme.
Team Rector Andrew Evans thanked the News for the coverage that led to the youngsters being caught.
With their parents they met the justice panel and the Rev Andrew Evans and churchwardens from St Mary’s last Thursday.
Rev Evans said: “It was a very emotional, but fruitful, meeting.”
He said the youngsters would have been left in no doubt about the hurt and the amount of work the New Year’s Eve break-in caused.
He added: “It was really laid on the line and they responded to that.”
The youths, who are all 16 and have not been named, were among a group who vandalised the church before fleeing with three choir robes worth £200 each.
Mr Evans said: “It is the first time I have been involved in this sort of system and it was terrific.
“What I didn’t want, and what the church didn’t want, was for them to get any form of police record. Our hearts went out to the parents. There was considerable sympathy for them.
“We are not talking about hardened criminals here.”
He added far from condemning, worshippers really appreciated the youngsters’ public apology at Sunday’s service.
He said: “There was no sense of going through the motions to get out of trouble. They were really sincere in what they said.
“What they did was serious and it has hurt a lot of people but they put it right big time.”
The young people have volunteered to return to the church and help with spring cleaning.
The Rev Evans said: “I remain convinced that we should be proud of the young people who live in our community and the actions in putting right something they had done wrong has restored our faith and pride in these young people too.
“The congregation of St Mary’s wishes them well and every success in their future lives and would like to thank their parents for their support during what has been a most difficult time for them too.
“Out of a sad incident, something very good has happened.”
l The justice panel also dealt with a young man who broke into the works compound at Bridport Town Hall.
The 17-year-old will be doing 25 hours’ community service with the town council’s outdoors team following the hearing.
He was arrested after being caught on CCTV getting into the yard and causing some minor damage in February.
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