A HOMELESS teenager has been charged after a Winchester church was broken into and damaged by fire.

Andrew Richardson, 18, of no fixed abode, has been charged with arson and criminal damage between December 21-23 at St Bartholomew’s church, King Alfred Place, Hyde.

He appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on Friday December 28 to be remanded in custody and was due in court again tomorrow. (WED, JAN 2)

A fire broke out at St Bartholomew’s and caused extensive damage to inside the building including a table, pew, Christmas tree, stained glass window and kneeling pads. The church had to be closed over Christmas for repairs

Richardson is also alleged to have caused criminal damage to doors at St Peter’s Church in Jewry Street.

An allegation of burglary at St Peter’s has been withdrawn.