A CRYPT under a Grade II-listed Portland church is being used as a drinking den, police have revealed.

Following reports of ‘noises coming from the crypt’ of St Peter’s Church on Portland, police said they found evidence it was being used as a place to drink alcohol.

They have now reassured members of the public that officers will be ‘patrolling the area as much as possible’.

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The church, which was built between 1870–72 using convict labour from the adjacent Portland Prison, is privately owned and features on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register.

Portland Mayor, Sandy West, spoke of her ‘dismay’ that the historic site was being used as a congregating place for people to drink.

She said: "I'm very saddened, angry and dismayed, that such anti-social behaviour has been going on.

"This is not the first time reports of such behaviour in the church, and I think the lockdown has made the situation worse.

"I'd like to thank the police for their prompt response, and welcome their remarks on patrolling the site

"It is very important that the church, with it's beautiful mosaic work in the porch and sanctuary, be preserved."

Police said they were in talks with the owner of the site to ensure security measures are put in place to stop anti-social behaviour reoccurring – and Mrs West said she hoped the owner would take action to repair and secure the site.

She also called the current state of the building 'precarious' and urged people to stay away for their own safety.

A spokesman from Dorset Police, said: "We first had a report at around 10pm on Sunday 28 March 2021 that noises were heard coming from the area of the crypt.

"Officers have attended the area on their patrols and found evidence it was being used as a place to drink alcohol.

"Officers will continue to carry out patrols in the area and are liaising with the owner to ensure security measures are in place."

Reports of drinking at the landmark site come after it was revealed Weymouth’s landmark Sandsfoot Castle – which is currently closed to the public due to safety concerns after cracks appeared – was also being used by groups of people gathering to drink.