Sleaford parish church leaders have been left to pick up the pieces and the repair bill after disrespectful yobs kicked a football through a 19th century stained glass window.
It is believed the incident happened a little before 4pm on Saturday afternoon when parishioners think a few lads may have been having a kick about in the graveyard outside St Deny’s Church in the centre of town.
Rural Dean and Vicar of Sleaford, Rev Philip Johnson said: “Those in the church setting up for Sunday’s services heard an almighty crash. When they went to investigate they found a football stuck in one of the stained glass windows.
“By the time they got outside, those responsible had fled although a shirt had been left on the ground.”
Bizarrely, because of the heavy leading in the panes of glass, the ball remained wedged in the hole it had created.
Although not conclusive, witnesses believe they may have seen the culprits beforehand.
Saddened and frustrated by the unnecessary vandalism, the vicar said: “About half an hour before, a churchwarden had seen a group of boys hanging around in the area where the damage occurred, but they were not kicking a ball around.
“They would have been playing football in the area of the memorial garden where we inter cremated remains.”
Rev Johnson said the window was installed in the 19th century in memory of someone, adding: “It will cost thousands to repair.
“The ball must have been kicked with some force to do the damage that it did.”
At some point between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday the ball was removed by someone unknown. The police are said to be investigating.