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Church branded with satanic symbol in vandalism attack

An upside-down cross and the numbers 666 were painted on the door of St Peter's Church in Bramshaw.

The church door has since been cleaned to remove the graffiti

A number of sheep and cattle across the national park were also slaughtered and sprayed with pentagrams and stars.

According to common rights dating back to the 13th Century, the animals of around 800 local inhabitants have been given license to graze in the open forest.

Rev David Bacon, the vicar of St Peter's Church, has lived in the area for over 15 years and suggested the vandalism may be linked to black magic or witchcraft, given that the New Forest has been "well-known" for such practices for centuries.

Speaking to Press Association, Rev Bacon said: "The church door has been cleaned and needed redecorating but that's just a pain.

"The attacks on the animals have left people quite disturbed and scared, particularly people who have animals in the forest.

"We have had very very minor incidents in the past, little bits of graffiti, it doesn't happen very often, nothing like this."

Tony Hockley, chairman of the New Forest Commoners' Defence Association has warned of the implications these attacks are likely to have on the farming industry there.

"Things like this will deter people from carrying on the tradition of grazing animals on the forest and that hurts everyone."

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