A CHURCH in Wales vicar is offering the hand of kindness to the person who "senselessly ran amok" in an historic graveyard near Bethesda.

Hundreds of pounds worth of damage was caused to the Coetmor mortuary chapel and its adjoining cemetery at about 2pm, on Bank Holiday Monday.

A window was smashed in the chapel, when a stone block was ripped from a grave, hurled through the leaded panes, leaving the area in front of the alter strewn with glass.

Grave ornaments and vases were smashed, dustbins overturned, flowers strewn about and some graves were were dug into, with soil and stones left scattered.

"This can only be the work of someone not in their right mind," said 41-year-old Reverend John Matthews of the Bro Ogwen parish.

"I believe someone came here to think about something, then perhaps something just snapped. It must have been a moment of madness.

"The damage is senseless, they've just run amok.

"It is bizarre why some of the graves have been dug into in a frenzied way, it reminds me of how a dog digs at the ground. They've smashed plant pots and ornaments on maybe a dozen graves.

The Coetmor Chapel was built in 1911 in memory of Charles Donald Robertson - whose family ran the Robertson's jam factory. He fell from Glyder Fach on March 25, 1910, and was buried in the cemetery with his gravestone - aligned in a different direction to the other graves - facing the mountain he fell from. There was no damage to that grave, but flowers were strewn nearby.

"I can't understand why anyone would do such a thing to graves," said Rev Matthews.

"Many are of families who have lived in the area for generations.

"I want the person who did this to know I cast no aspersions. In fact, we offer them the hand of kindness and forgiveness.

"I don't think it was kids messing about because you would need strength. I believe it was an adult.

"Someone out there needs our help. I hope they will feel able to contact me. We must do the kind and charitable thing here and help this person."

Local people who have family members in the graveyard have been visiting the cemetery to check on graves.

John Barrett, from Anglesey, came to check on the graves of his great grandfather and grandmother, William and Rose Thomas, and their son Idris Thomas.

"My great grandfather was in the Penrhyn Quarry strike. (Editor's note: The longest running strike in British history, 1900-1903)

"Fortunately they were not damaged, but I saw flowers strewn about."

Raymond Tomlinson, whose wife Margaret Jane Tomlinson is buried in the graveyard, came to help in the clean up.

As he swept up glass and debris he said: "I was concerned when I heard, and worried for my wife's grave. Fortunately, it wasn't affected. I wanted to stay and do something to help clear up."

An appeal has gone out for donations for the repairs and upkeep of the cemetery.

Rev Matthews added: " We are a poor church, we have very little funding. Money for the graveyard comes from the collection plate. If anyone could help us with donations we'd be grateful. It is heartwarming how the community has rallied round."

Anyone who knows anything please contact Rev Matthews (01248 364991) or the police.