Vandals destroy sacred thorn tree
One of the UK's most important symbols of Christianity has been destroyed by vandals.
Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree - famous for its link to St Joseph of Arimathea - was hacked down and reduced to just a stump.
The Holy Thorn, on Wearyall Hill in Somerset, holds a special significance for Christians across the world and is regarded as sacred by many others.
The pilgrimage site is visited by thousands every year and those visiting today were reduced to tears.
Avon and Somerset Police has launched an investigation after local residents found the stump this morning.
Katherine Gorbing, director of Glastonbury Abbey, condemned the vandals who carried out the attack.
"Like the whole town, we are shocked and appalled at this terrible act of vandalism," she said.
"This is the most important tree in Glastonbury and is of exceptional spiritual significance.
"Thousands of people come to Glastonbury to visit the Abbey, the Tor and follow in the footsteps of pilgrims, climbing Wearyall Hill to see the Holy Thorn."
Glastonbury Abbey has its own Holy Thorn tree, which is a direct descendent of the trees on Wearyall Hill, from which a sprig is sent to the Queen for display on her dining table on Christmas Day.
The story of the Holy Thorn and St Joseph of Arimathea - the Virgin Mary's Uncle - is linked to the origins of Christianity in England.
The legend tells of how St Joseph arrived by boat, landed on the Isle of Avalon and having climbed Wearyall Hill, thrust his wooden staff into the ground where it took root and grew into the Glastonbury Holy Thorn, nearly 2,000 years ago.
The thorn is renowned for flowering twice a year at Christmas and at Easter.
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
First full-length look is finally here
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope