The National Churches Tourism Group expressed concern today at reports that parts of Gloucester Cathedral were to be closed to the public due to vandalism. The cathedral has become especially popular recently following its use as the setting for Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter films. The National Churches Tourism Group represents churches of all denominations which welcome visitors. Its secretary, Mrs Rosemary Watts said, "We hope these reports have been exaggerated. If the problem is solely broken windows then this is most likely to have been caused by those outside the cathedral, not internal visitors. "Recent studies have shown that churches which are closed to the public are twice as likely to suffer crime and vandalism as churches which are open. The insurance companies encourage churches to be open during daylight hours and offer free advice on security to churches who do so.. Welcoming everyone and accepting the vulnerability that this creates is part of the message of Christianity, but our experience is that churches who open not only find their problems of crime and vandalism are reduced but that they benefit in many, many ways."
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