Unknown vandals broke into a Rotherham Church, spent hours drinking wine and wreaking havoc.
St James Church, in East Dene was left in a total state after vandals burgled the building. A children’s nursery that is run by the church and helps single mothers with free childcare was destroyed and forced to close down for over a week.
The incident happened at St James Church in East Dene, where they stole £20,000 worth of equipment. The place of worship was covered in broken wine bottles and glass, forcing it to remain closed for a week.
The vandals made off with musical instruments belonging to Rotherham Town Brass Band.
The band, who can be seen performing regularly in the Christmas markets in Sheffield and Rotherham, is now unable to perform and its future is in doubt.
Rotherham Town Brass band are a family band who have been operating for 25 years, and they say the vandalism and burglary threatens to drive them out of business permanently.
Band co-ordinator Edward Rhodes, 42, said: “There were wine bottles all over the church floor.
“The church was vandalised. They vandalised a children’s nursery, they vandalised the church hall and they stole £20,000 worth of equipment.”
Rhodes added that the thieves “poured coffee all over music sheets, some of which have been collected for over 20 years and are invaluable”. He said: “St James Church East Dene was our Brass Band rehearsal venue. Some of the instruments we used were so big that members can’t take them home.”
And the crime has put the band’s future in jeopardy as they are being forced to cancel pre-booked shows, losing revenue in the process. Rhodes said: “We lost everything. We can’t play at any of the concerts that we scheduled to play. We can’t play for Jubilee weekend.”
Rhodes told Yorkshire Live that the band was barely keeping its head above the water due to the pandemic, and had exhausted all its savings: “We are really distressed. It’s a family band. Instruments were passed down from fathers to sons, and mums to daughters.
The band has set up a charity page on Facebook, and people are donating funds to help the band secure instruments and get back to performing.