Vandals have smashed part of an 18th Century stained-glass window in a village church.

The window on the south side of St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Averham, contains four inserted Italian paintings, one of which was damaged.

It has been described as the church’s most historic window.

Mr Martin Cooper, who led a project at the church to restore its bells, said repairs were likely to cost £1,200.

The church is looking at whether it can make an insurance claim, but will still have to pay the £500 policy excess.

It is thought the damage was caused by a stone thrown at the window, part of which features a Biblical figure with a white beard standing in an amber landscape.

'This is going to cost us money we can ill-afford'

Churchwarden Mr Ron Watkins said: “I am saddened by what has happened.

“We are lucky because we have someone who lives in Wellow, Mike Stokes of MDS Stained Glass, who can repair it for us.

“He said it was the most historic window in the church and that it has been hand-painted.

“It is such a rare window that Mike himself didn’t know how long it would take to repair.

“Unfortunately, this is going to cost us money that we can ill-afford.”

Shards of glass found following the vandalism will be used by Mr Stokes so he can match colours when making repairs.

The church previously suffered vandalism in 2011 when five triangular patterned panels of Victorian glass were smashed and several more were damaged when apples were thrown at them.

The cost of that repair was met thanks to a donation from an Advertiser reader following an article about the damage.