A VILLAGE church has been forced to lock its doors because teenagers using it to meet up keep leaving a mess.

The Reverend Wyn Beynon said it’s a shame he’s had to close when no services are running at St Mary’ de Wyche Church but said the youths are “not malicious.”

The church, in Wychbold, was locked up over the bank holiday but the vicar thinks the root problem is the village’s youngsters have nothing to do.

“They’re not doing any damage,” he said. “They light every candle they can find, which is fine – we encourage people to light them – but there’s a danger something else could go up.

“It’s low grade stuff, they are only 13 or 14 and there’s nothing malicious about them. But somebody has got to go in and clear up afterwards.

“They start messing with electronic equipment, like the organ, and leaving them on.”

Revd Beynon said the issue has only come to a head over the last week or so and believes “it’s a fad and in two months they’ll have forgotten about it.”

“They are not the kind of kids that could cause serious damage. They are just kicking about and need somewhere to meet. It’s an open church and they need somewhere to go.”

He said children that age need to go into Droitwich or Bromsgrove to find things to do but, if they can’t afford bus fare and don’t have anyone to drive them, they have to mooch around Wychbold.

“We will win this one,” continued the reverend. “I have worked in a church where satanic stuff’s been put on the front door but this is nothing like that.”

Revd Beynon oversees the Wychebrook Parishes and went on to say: “All of our churches are left open as much as possible and all are regularly visited, as you can tell from the visitors book, people from all over will drop in.”

He said the new recreation area opposite the village hall is “very good” but due to the rainy weather of late, some children will want to find somewhere to stay dry.

“They are too young for the pub and all of that, but it’s not a new problem. I’ve been doing this 40 years.You can’t keep up with the youth, it changes at such a rapid rate. There’s no point trying to learn the language, it changes every couple of weeks. I can’t get down with the youth, I’m too old.”