A VILLAGE church has been targeted by vandals on five separate occasions in the past few weeks.

Windows have been broken and roof tiles damaged at St Joseph's Church, in Ushaw Moor, near Durham,in what police have described as acts of "mindless vandalism".

Officers, who have been told local youths may be responsible, have urged parents to deter such behaviour.

A spokesperson for Durham City police team said: "We were saddened to hear that over the last few weeks damage has been caused to St Joseph's Church.

"We are not aware of any reason why someone would want to damage this historic building with links to the mining community and so we suspect this to be a case of pure mindless vandalism.

"Local officers are investigating the damages and, once identified, will deal with the perpetrators accordingly.

"It's been suggested that local youths may be responsible. Parents and carers – if you suspect your child may be involved could you please remind them that this behaviour is wrong on all counts and is classed as criminal damage."

Anyone with information is asked to call Durham police on 101 or to send a private message via the Durham City Police Facebook page.