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Locals left distraught after nativity scene at historic Ipswich church smashed, with 'Joseph' beheaded
8 December 2022, 15:24 | Updated: 8 December 2022, 15:28
The reverend of an Ipswich church was left 'distraught' after mannequins in a nativity scene were ripped up - with a model of Joseph beheaded - four days after it was set up.
The Rev Danny Morrison, vicar of All Saints Church in Ipswich said the congregation was 'distraught and saddened' by the incident.
It follows a similar attack in December, 2018, when CCTV footage was issued of a man decapitating the nativity scene's 'Joseph'.
There was fury from locals as news began spreading of the destruction of the scene, with damage to the wooden structure holding the figures up, along with the models being dismembered.
The installation was smashed only four days after it went up in outside the church, parts of which date back to the 13th century, leaving the priest baffled.
Reverend Danny Morrison said: "I was distraught, I was saddened, I was bewildered.
"Why would someone have so much hatred and desire to ruin and destroy something that is not their property, and something that is there to express someone's belief?
"I am also saddened because I know the amount of work put in by so many at the church, and also saddened for the people that have done it.
"What state might their life be like if they find pleasure in doing this? I am trying to make sense which I really can't.'
Other local church members shared their anger, with one saying: "Whoever did this should be ashamed - it is barbaric."
Jane Cornish, a leader at the church, said: "It took a long time to put up the figures and make the display look nice, and we feel is something that is appreciated around here.
"It was so sad when we arrived in the morning to see it in bits on the ground.
"We have got other ready-made figures which we use inside but they are not as sturdy, and to fix the figures would take a long time because they really are in little bits."
The scene has has been a Christmas fixture for the past five years, and though it had been damaged in the past, it was not to this extent.
Ipswich borough councillor Carole Jones, who represents Westgate Ward where the church is located, said 'I'm really disappointed and saddened.
"It's hard to understand such mindless vandalism, especially as this is meant to remind people of Christmas.
"It is a gift to the neighbourhood as well, when people pass it and see it, it cheers them up.'
Fellow ward councillor Colin Kreidewolf said 'The church puts up a display every year and it is lovely, so it is distressing and concerning to see that people feel it is okay to vandalise.
"I will get in touch with the church to see if there's anything we can do.'