£20,000 has been given to a church to protect its valuable stained glass windows from repeated attacks by vandals.
The cash will be used to fit stainless steel guards to all 20 stained glass and leaded windows at St Paul’s Church in Hanging Heaton.
The church has been repeatedly targeted by yobs. In May shattered glass littered pews and the children’s area of St Paul’s after vandals wreaked havoc by smashing windows.
Around 100 separate panes of glass had to be painstakingly repaired after the attack. All the windows have been vandalised on more than one occasion.
Now Dewsbury Area Committee has stepped in to prevent the church picking up repair bills in future. Councillors voted to grant the cash, which will form just under half the total cost of the guards. The church will need to find the remaining £23,823.
Coun Eric Firth said: “The church has a real problem with vandalism. It can’t go on like this.”
Church warden Pat Mosley said: “We need this very badly. The church is a prime target.”
In May, the rocks were thrown with such force that they bent some of the leading in the windows out of shape.
Mrs Mosley said: “Something has got to be done. We have to protect the church as much as we can. It’s also a nuisance to the neighbours.”
Warden Brian Glover said: “It’s been very expensive to replace them, running into thousands of pounds.
“It’s incredible the lengths they have gone too. We went round picking up stones from the ground so they would not have any ammunition.” Stones from the wall bordering the church have been removed and used to damage the church in the past.
“We are trying to protect the church for future generations,” Mr Glover added. “We have got to do all the windows otherwise it will be seen as a challenge.”
Mrs Mosley said the guards were not visible from a distance, and that they did not stop light getting into the church.
Kirklees Council agreed to a policy in October that stated projects that “promote particular religious beliefs” should not get grant cash.
But members of the area committee decided that as the church is used for community use as well as religious services, the guidance was not applicable in this case.
It is hoped the work will start in the new year.