A ROYAL Marine officer has been charged by American police after a church was vandalised in Virginia.
Edmund Whitehead, 22, was arrested in the town of Fredericksburg in the early hours of Saturday.
The Royal Navy has confirmed the young Second Lieutenant was in the States for a training exercise when the incident occurred.
Whitehead, of Wales, is alleged to have broken into Fredericksburg Baptist Church after a night out drinking.
Local police said they were looking for a suspect in an unrelated crime nearby when they heard glass breaking inside the church.
Officers reportedly surrounded the building after they saw a door come flying through one of the church’s stained glassed windows.
‘He was highly intoxicated,’ said Natatia Bledsoe, a spokeswoman for the Fredericksburg Police Department.
She added the suspect had been drinking with a larger group at a bar in the area.
Whitehead is also accused of spitting on an officer while he was taken into custody.
He is being detained in Rappahannock Regional Jail and has been charged with burglary, destruction of property, and assault on law enforcement.
Fredericksburg police have circulated a picture of Whitehead taken after his arrest.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘We are aware that a member of the Royal Marines was arrested by police in Virginia, USA on Saturday, August 6.
‘As this is a local police matter, any further enquiries should go to the Virginia State Department.
‘Legal proceedings are yet to take place, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.’