Vandals covered CCTV cameras with mud before going on a wrecking spree at a Fife church’s £1.2 million community centre.
Youngsters have damaged the roof of the building at Wellesley Parish Church in Methil, and have thrown rocks and stones at the windows.
Minister Gillian Paterson is devastated at the extent of the damage before the centre even opens to the public.
“It took us nine years to raise the money to build this and I really feel for the congregation,” she said.
“We haven’t even had it handed over from the contractor yet.”
She added: “It has been devastating for those of us who have worked hard for years to build this wonderful facility for the community.”
‘They’ve had a field day’
Gillian said the Methil church vandalism started as soon as the hoarding was removed.
“For a long, long time they couldn’t get into it but now that they can, they’ve had a field day,” she said.
“We’ve had CCTV installed and it’s working.
“But at the beginning we didn’t have protective covers over them so the vandals learned they could just turn the cameras away.
“We then added the covers but now they just throw mud at them.”
Methil is the seventh poorest parish in Scotland.
And Gillian said the time and effort it took to raise the money was “incalculable”.
The area has few facilities for community groups so the Wellesley Church building will provide much-needed space for events and meetings.
We are literally running out of money and patience to sort this.”
Reverend Gillian Paterson,
These include parent and toddler groups, a befriending group for people who feel isolated and singing and dancing get-togethers for those with dementia.
“These services are vital and they need a place to meet but now people going to have to wait even longer,” Gillian said.
“They’ve damaged the roof and we now have water coming through.
“The whole roof needs looked at again.
“We are literally running out of money and patience to sort this.”
Concern for safety of Methil church vandals
And aside from the frustration and disappointment, the minister is worried for the safety of those involved in the destruction.
“I’m concerned they’ll fall off the roof,” she said.
“We would hate to get a call to say a lad has broken his back or worse than that.
“Some people are saying it’s what they deserve but I wouldn’t like us to have that on our conscience.”
Despite the destruction, the church has been inundated with offers of help from the community.
I want to say thank you to the Methil community.”
Reverend Gillian Paterson.
“On behalf of the congregation, I want to say thank you to the Methil community,” the minister said.
“It’s an immense privilege to be the minister here and the response has been truly humbling.
“All I can say is we’ve tried our best, worked hard and we want to provide something special for our community.
“Our hope now is that the vandalism stops so we can get it finished and open.”
Police confirmed they are investigating the Methil church vandalism, believed to have occurred between August 9 and 15.
A spokesman said: “Officers are following a positive line to enquiry.”