VANDALS have smashed an “invaluable” monument in a daylight attack at an historic Bridgwater church.

The thugs used “some force” to destroy a stone cross on top of a pedestal at St John the Baptist Church in Blake Place.

The memorial had been put up to mark the grave of a former vicar of the church.

The church has been the target of a number of recent attacks with thieves striking in April this year, taking lead from the church roof.

Vicar of the church the, Rev Geraldine Kirk, said today she was sickened by the latest attack.

She said: “It seems like we take one step forward then two steps back with trying to keep the church nice.

“The attack happened between 12pm and 3pm on Monday while I was out. It’s just terrible that someone could do this.

“The cross was invaluable – you couldn’t put a price on it – and the way it’s been smashed means they must have used some force or something to hit it with.”

The Rev Kirk added that the cross had been targeted before in a vandal attack about seven years ago but after an appeal in the Bridgwater Mercury a stonemason had managed to put it back together.

However, this time she said regrettably it was “beyond repair.”

Thieves stole lead worth thousands of pounds from the church roof in April resulting in it leaking in several places.

In 2010 vandals scrawled graffiti on the church, a landmark since 1846, as well as leaving drug equipment including needles strewn near gravestones.

Built originally in 1846, St John’s Church was one of the first churches built under the Oxford movement, a 19th Century movement which sought to re-introduce a greater Catholic influence into the Anglican Church.