THE grave of the eight-month-old son of the first vicar of a Blackburn church was among those damaged when thieves tried to steal a set of tomb stones.

York flagstones surrounding the four graves at Holy Trinity Church, in Mount Pleasant, were uprooted during the early hours of Wednesday morning, causing water to ‘irrepairably’ spoil the stones.

Police were called after the thieves were seen moving the slabs.

Among those buried at the site was John William Robinson, the son of the church’s first reverend Christopher Robinson, who died in 1853.

Rev Martin Daniels, priest in charge at St Thomas with St Jude’s Church, in Accrington Road, and Holy Trinity, said some of the stones had been removed between Christmas and New Year, with the thieves returning at around 3.40am on Wednesday for the slabs around the grave stones.

Rev Daniels said: “Nothing is sacred anymore.

“It is absolutely awful and all done at somebody else’s expense.

“We are just under attack all the time. If it is not the lead, it is the York paving.

“They do not care how much damage they cause.

“They have damaged a part of Blackburn’s heritage, just to make a fast buck.”

PC John Banks, from Blackburn Police, said the thieves had intended to sell the slabs on.

He said: “The only reason the rest of the stones were not stolen was because the police got there before they could load anything up.

“They have interfered with various locations around the building, which we understand is grade one listed, and as a consequence the removal and prising up of the slabs has caused a great deal of water damage, which is almost irrepairable gived the amount of money required.

“The slabs are markers, so there are some poor souls that are lying underneath.

“It is a really low crime.

“Not only that, they have got the slabs from a building that is the heart and soul of the community.

“It is nothing short of disgusting.”

Two men have been charged with theft and released on police bail.