Luton hate crime probe over St Thomas's church graffiti

media captionCommunity rallies after Luton church daubed with graffiti

Graffiti daubed across a church, including references to the "anti-Christ", is being treated as a hate crime.

The vicar of St Thomas's Church of England Church in Hitchin Road, Stopsley, Luton, arrived to find the paint still wet on Sunday morning.

Slogans including "Hell awaits you. Repent" and "Beware the beast" were painted across the exterior walls.

"Hate crime will not be tolerated," Bedfordshire police said.

The graffiti, in large white letters, appeared sometime between midnight and 08:00 BST on 23 July, officers said.

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionSeveral walls of the church were daubed with white paint slogans
image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionBedfordshire Police confirmed the vandalism was being treated as a hate crime

The vandal also made references to transhumanism - a movement that believes in using technology to improve intellectual, physical and psychological capacities - and wrote: "Anti-Christ" and "Hell awaits".

St Thomas's vicar, the Reverend David Alexander said: "The slogans have been painted on the side of the walls of the church and they were still wet when we arrived on Sunday morning."

Police are investigating the vandalism and have appealed for witnesses.

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