A man is in custody after a cross was torn off a church roof. The man was arrested in High Road, Chadwell Heath, on Sunday, October 18 on suspicion of criminal damage after the cross was ripped off Chadwell Heath Baptist Church. The cross was recovered. Today workmen were preparing to put the cross back on the roof.
The church issued a statement on Monday, October 19, saying: “We are distressed following the events of yesterday where our building was vandalised. The person seen was not part of our church, nor had we seen him prior to yesterday. We are thankful no one was hurt and do not want this to affect our ministry. We continue to pray for everyone in Chadwell Heath and will do our best to serve the community now and in the future.”
A local cafe owner who witnessed the desecration said: 'I saw the guy first when I was opening up at 8am. He was sitting on the pavement bobbing his head back and forth. You could tell he had mental health issues. I don't think he was local because I'd never seen him before. I think he might have be Algerian or Moroccan.
'He disappeared for a while after I first saw him, but then the next thing I know he's climbed onto the church and he's shouting random abuse. He was very angry and he started damaging the cross. . . An audience started to build waiting to see what he was going to do next. 'People were stood well back because they could see he was about to throw the cross. When it finally came crashing down it didn't hit anyone thankfully. What happened next was so bizarre.
'The police hadn't arrived yet so the guy just jumped down and started dragging the cross through the streets — a bit like Jesus did. Eventually he got tired and just sat down until the police arrived and nicked him'.
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