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WALSALL: Security to be bolstered at church

WALSALL: Security to be bolstered at church

Image: Gurdip Thandi

Security is set to be beefed up at a historic Walsall church in a bid to stop discarded needles and used condoms being left strewn on the grounds.

St Marys the Mount Roman Catholic Church, on Vicarage Walk, has previously suffered from issues of anti-social behaviour taking in and around the area.

But despite the number of incidents dropping in recent years, church leaders are looking to bring in more enhanced CCTV, extra and fencing around part of the boundary of the Grade II listed building.

Funding of around £60,000 has been secured from the Home Office to cover part of the cost of the project and a planning application lodged with Walsall Council.

Father Jobin Kollappallil said some security measures installed previously had helped address some of the issues but added they were now looking to “eradicate” problems completely.

He said: “This church has been here for almost 200 years now and is one of the most ancient churches in the West Midlands. It is a beautiful Grade II listed building full of history and tradition.

“It is a very good place of worship with people coming here for prayer. In the past, we’ve had problems with drug users and prostitutes, throwing the needles and used contraception here and there on the premises.

“It is a divine place, a holy place but some people desecrate it.

“In the past we had more issues, but we installed cameras and put some lighting in which means the number of incidents has gone down.

“But we thought we’d improve it further to eradicate them totally and applied for Home Office funding, which was approved.

“This security will include installing fencing on part of the boundary, increase lighting with movement detection and have improved CCTV.

“We need to keep it as a sacred place where people can come to worship or visit graves in peace.  It’s an active church and active place of worship.”

Father Jobin said 2027 will mark 200 years since St Marys The Mount was formed in Walsall.

Planning officers at Walsall Council are expected to make a decision on whether to grant listed building consent for the works next month.

Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

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