A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after a car was driven the wrong way around Wincanton's one way system and ploughed into the church gates.
PCSO Fiona Wilson said that a local man in his early 20s had been arrested after a silver vehicle was spotted driving down Church Street against the flow of traffic in the early hours of a Saturday morning..
A police officer witnessed a car approach the bottom of the hill, before leaving the road and colliding with the wall and gate of the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul.
No one was injured in the crash but a man has been arrested and bailed by police.
The Reverend Nigel Feaver, Rector of Wincanton, said that the church was counting the cost of the damage to the wall, pillar and gate, which were thought to have been in place since the Victorian era.
He revealed it may be months before the damage, which happened on November 30, is repaired.
He said: "It's very disappointing and we were shocked to see the whole entrance wall and pillar completely demolished and the path strewn with rubble.
"The other half of the gate is still connected to the other pillar although there seems to be some cracks. It's an issue that we could have done without having only just completed the repairs to the roof.
"We were planning to start a fundraising campaign for improved community facilities at the church, but that may have to be put on hold for now.
"We think it may be a listed wall which means we have to build it in the exact same way, which will not be a quick job.
"Considering the amount of damage to the wall and gate the car must have been incredibly badly damaged, and must have been travelling at speed to have knocked down a complete pillar and gate."
Mr Feaver added that it would be several months before the wall and gate could be reinstated as the church would have to wait for the outcome from insurers before finding someone to complete the work.
He said: "We have Christmas services coming up, and this has made it difficult for elderly people to get to the church.
"We're glad that we can now move the rubble from the path and we're hoping to reuse it as it is Victorian stone, but as to whether it's too damaged to use we just don't know yet.
"We're greatly relieved that no-one was hurt in the incident, it could have been a lot worse and we thank God that no one was injured."