Boys vandalise Ely Cathedral


05-05-2000

Schoolboy hooligans have caused thousands of pounds of damage to Ely's historic cathedral.

The 900 year old Norman building has been targeted by the tearaways in a systematic vandalism spree.



The children, believed to be as young as 11, have damaged three stained glass windows, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. They have also wrecked the Bishop's greenhouse, tossing round seed trays after smashing their way through a window.



Valuable historic music scores have been strewn around the cathedral choristers' music library and medals stolen. The boys have even managed to smash open a collection box with a brick - while a verger was patrolling the grounds during a one-man play being performed inside.



Fortunately, staff had earlier emptied the box amid fears the children would strike again after two other offertory boxes were smashed open and cash stolen.



Now Cathedral bursar David Smout has called on parents to control their children. He said: 'Please try to get control over your children and make them realise what an unholy mess they are leaving behind.



'We open the Cathedral for the benefit of everyone and children are breaking in causing this horror and damage.'



Over the past 14 years, the Cathedral has undergone a 10 million restoration programme.



Two years ago a 12 year old boy was arrested by police after setting fire to a pile of rubbish in the Cathedral's west tower. Although the damage was slight, the building had to be evacuated. The boy was cautioned by police and released.



By Mila Vucevic