CHURCHGOERS have been left shocked and saddened after vandals targeted their church for the ninth time in four weeks on Friday afternoon. Around 25 panes of glass have been smashed at St Paul s Church in Sticklepath, Barnstaple, since June 26, damage cost

CHURCHGOERS have been left shocked and saddened after vandals targeted their church for the ninth time in four weeks on Friday afternoon.Around 25 panes of glass have been smashed at St Paul's Church in Sticklepath, Barnstaple, since June 26, damage costing between £1,700 and £2,000.A churchgoer, who asked not to be named, said that the smashing of windows had been "consistent and persistent" since the end of June."It's nothing short of a complete nightmare," she said."Nearly every window I can think of has been smashed and we've already repaired about nine. "It's very sad to think that this beautiful church is being attacked mindlessly. "All the parishioners feel the same about this and we would like to speak with those responsible and say please stop. What possible motive have they got? Have they got a grudge against the church? What are they getting out of this?"Much of the damage has been done in the middle of the afternoon so it's been very blatant. But despite the police making house-to-house inquiries, no one has seen or heard anything."Shattered glass on the inside of the 53-year-old church, choir vestry and lady chapel has caused on-going misery for parishioners who have had to move furniture - and even the altar - to clean up thousands of tiny shards.Local PCSO Tony Charles said that police had stepped up patrols in the area but were appealing to members of the public to report any suspicious activity in the area."How can such mindless individuals target a building such as a church? We will be taking all actions necessary to catch the offender or offenders."If anyone has any information, they should contact the police on 08452 777444.