A church dating from the 12th century has had one of its most valuable stained-glass windows smashed and removed.

The damage to historic St Mary’s Church in Rye is believed to have occurred between 10.45pm and 8.45am on the night of Monday going into Tuesday on August 29 or 30. Police are continuing to investigate.

The lost part of the window, depicting a vivid representation of the Lord giving sight to a blind man, was dedicated to the memory of Dr John Adamson and his wife Jane. It was given by members of their family in about 1882. It is the church's oldest window and was the work of CE Kempe.

PCSO Daryl Holter, also a heritage crime officer, said: "The damage to the window is appalling and irreversible so far as its originality is concerned.

"To repair both the glass and stone will be both extremely costly and inconvenient. It saddens me to think that our heritage can be so mindlessly damaged in this way, preventing future generations from enjoying and understanding it”.

Anyone with any information should email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or phone l 101, quoting serial 286 of 30/08.