1. ITV Report

800-year-old coffin damaged as child climbs in for photo

An 800-year-old coffin was damaged when a family lifted a child over a museum barrier and into it for a photograph.

800-year-old coffin before (top) and after (bottom) it was damaged

Part of the coffin, which was already in three pieces, fell from its stand and a chunk came off it. The people who caused the accidental damage were caught on CCTV at Prittlewell Priory Museum in Southend, Essex, but fled without reporting it. The incident happened on August 4.

The sandstone coffin was found in the grounds of the priory in 1921 and had a skeleton inside, which could have been a monk.

Conservator Claire Reed, who has been tasked with repairing the coffin, said:

The care of our collections is of paramount importance to us and this isolated incident has been upsetting for the museums service, whose staff strive to protect Southend's heritage for the benefit of our visitors and enrichment of their experience within our historic sites.

– Claire Reed, Conservator