BASILDON’S “oldest church” has been plagued with vandalism but is unable to afford CCTV and is struggling to prevent further trouble.

The Holy Cross church, off Church Road, has been hit with yobs ruining graves and stealing flowers from headstones.

The church, built in the 1300’s, is on the of oldest in the town, alongside St Nicholas in Laindon - which has already been forced to install CCTV due to vandals.

Reverend Jane Richards, in charge of the Holy Cross church, explained how the “random” attacks are hard to stop and now warns relatives considering leaving memorials.


She said: “Sadly there is a lot of vandalism and we don’t have the funds to install CCTV.

“We receive no funding for the upkeep of the churchyard so rely on community service volunteer.

“But the congregation at Holy Cross is small and are elderly.

“We can’t keep track of it. Not every incident is reported to me, it would really help if they were.”

Reverend Jane is in regular contact over Zoom with Reverend Andre at the St Nicholas Church, which has had similar issues.

Yobs held lockdown parties and left beer bottles strewn across the churchyard.

Motorbikes also damaged the grass.

The latest incident at Holy Cross saw flowers stolen from a grave earlier this week.

Urns and vases full of ashes and flowers have previously been destroyed.

Ms Richards added: “Because the church is so old, it will require a lot of work to get the CCTV installed.

“Without employing security guards, which isn’t appropriate, there’s not much we can do.

“The churchyard is consecrated ground and it’s very sad and disrespectful when people don’t treat it as such.

“It may well be kids, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.

“We have to appeal to those who are responsible, how would you feel if it was your nan or grandad’s grave being ruined.

“The council try to help keep it as tidy as possible but it’s not an easy task. We will do our best with it.”

She has offered to meet with the families of those who are having graves damaged.

The CCTV at the St Nicholas church is hoped to be installed in the summer.