Churchgoers today blasted vandals after a spate of damage at a Chorley church.
The destruction of a cross was just the latest in a list of crimes that have plagued Eccleston Methodist Church in recent months.
This has included breaking a wooden cross in half, smashing windows, and damaging property belonging to the church’s resident pre-school group.
The vandalism has got so bad that CCTV was recently installed in a bid to tackle yobs.
But that did not deter criminals who targeted a 6ft cross standing outside the church to mark Easter Sunday.
Glynn Thomas, treasurer at the church, said: “It is just sheer vandalism.
“The cross is adorned with flowers and it usually looks quite attractive outside the church on Easter Sunday, where it usually stays for the whole week.”
Police say yobs targeted the church at around 12.25am on Sunday and lifted up the cross, taking it towards the centre of the village.
It was returned hours later but the cross had been broken and flowers strewn across the street.
They have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
Mr Thomas said: “I just can’t understand the mentality of people who do this sort of thing. It is not causing any harm or offence to anyone.
“We are simply doing what we have done for years and this time someone has seen fit to dismantle it.
“This isn’t the first time.
“We have had three double-glazed windows, which were put in by air rifles, and it’s not cheap to replace this sort of thing.
“They were on different sides of the building so it was obviously deliberate.
“We have a pre-school in the church all week and they were getting stuff damaged too.”
Bosses at the church say they will continue to go about their business despite the spate of damage.
Rev Janet Pybon said: “It is very sad but we will put the cross out again next year.
“Whoever did it probably just saw it as a bit of mischief.
“They don’t understand the importance of the cross to Christians.
“I would like them to think about how they would feel if someone destroyed something precious to them.”
Lancashire police say they are appealing for witnesses to the incident and have asked anyone with information to contact them on 101.