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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Vandals offer birthday money to pay for repairs to Cumbrian church

Young boys who desecrated a church have offered to give up their birthday money to help pay for repairs.

Related: Cumbrian kids quizzed by police over church wrecking spree

There was heartbreak and anger in Brampton when it was discovered that gravestones had been pulled over and windows smashed at the historic place of worship – with children aged between six and 10 to blame.

Those responsible for the damage came face-to-face with those most affected by their crime at Brampton Old Church this week.

Police organised the meeting through a restorative justice scheme because the four youngsters are below the age of criminal responsibility.

People there said the children had clearly got the message about the impact of their crime.

Brampton Parish Council chairman Judith Pattinson said: “The parents were very upset and tearful and the children looked bewildered.

“They promised to give the money they had got for their birthdays towards the repairs.

“I thought the meeting was an appropriate way to handle the situation and if it means the community is brought closer, then that can only be beneficial.”

The boys toppled gravestones, smashed windows and candlesticks and dragged a cross out of the church almost a fortnight ago. The total damage caused is thought to run into thousands of pounds.

Police believe the restorative justice programme is the most effective way to deal with cases where those responsible are below the age of criminal responsibility because it means they must meet those most affected by the crime. All of the boys responsible for the church damage live locally.

Brampton Preservation Trust, which owns the church but has no responsibility for the graveyard, may have to foot the bill for the damage.

It is understood that one of the boys told a relative what had happened and they then reported it.

In the aftermath of the vandalism, Mrs Pattinson said pupils from Brampton Primary School would carry out litter picks in Murray Park and Irthing Park to demonstrate that young people from the town do care about their community.

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