HEARTLESS vandals are wrecking a Wellington church and memorial garden.

The 'mindless' yobs are gathering at St John's Parish Church, ripping up flowers and wrecking memorial plaques with tributes to loved ones.

Thieves also ransacked the church. They threw around candles like toys before smashing into the office door last week, making off with a cash box and unopened post.

Churchwarden Judith Salter said: “It is becoming a big concern to us. Flowers are being removed and thrown around and a number of memorial plaques have been vandalised.

“These are mindless acts of vandalism. The public should be more aware of this situation in the hope those responsible feel a sense of shame.”

The church, on High Street, is currently open during the day for people to visit and pay their respects.

But keepers say they may be forced to lock the doors if the destruction continues.

“We are concerned at this increasing activity which is not only disrespectful but also upsetting to those who use the church,” added Mrs Salter.

“We are worried that this will escalate and force us to keep the church locked.”

Wellington Mayor Vivienne Stock-Williams says the situation is of 'major concern' to the town council and hopes offenders will be dealt with.

PC Dwight Schultz, from the town police station, added: “Youths were stopped at the weekend and alcohol was seized.

“We are aware that people congregate in the area and we might possibly increase patrols around the church in the coming weeks.”