CONCERNED parishioners are hoping to raise money for a CCTV camera after vandals repeatedly damaged cars and smashed windows at a church.

Astley Bridge Baptist Church has been the target of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour in recent weeks but is often used for community meetings.

Now, members of the congregation and the Astley Bridge Neighbourhood Watch hope to raise cash for a camera to deter the criminals.

However, the system could cost between £1,000 and £1,500.

Simon Rees, secretary at Astley Bridge Baptist Church, explained why the CCTV is necessary.

He said: “In the past we have had broken windows. They have set trees on fire and the cars in the car park have had smashed windows and broken wipers. It’s just been left a horrible mess.

“We’ve had an extension built recently which is supposed to be used by the members of the community but we want the public to be safe.”

He added: “Being a very small church, we are not loaded with money for things like this.

“But, the CCTV camera will also allow us to help the community and the neighbourhood watch by watching areas around the church.”

The fundraisers are using crowdfunding site Just Giving to raise the money and have currently collected more than £100.

The church building is used for a number of events, including regular meetings of local groups such as the neighbourhood watch.

Tom Atkinson, watch co-ordinator, explained that he hopes knowing about the camera will stop people causing problems in the area.

“It will help to deter people and if there are any incidents they will be able to find the people involved,” he said.

“This is often vandalism, they have been causing damage throwing litter around the church and we’ve had to have fencing put up to stop people going close to the building.

“It’s been going on for about six months. It can be from a couple of kids to 20 kids. It’s a big issue at the moment.”

To donate to the fundraiser, visit: