A Grade II listed mansion has been forced to close after its 200-year-old entrance gate became the victim of a hit and run.

An unknown vehicle has crashed into the gates of Basildon Park, causing a large crack in one of the stone columns supporting the security gate.

The National Trust has deemed the damage to be unsafe for visitors, forcing the 18th Century mansion to close to tourists on February 15th while they await repairs.

A statement on the trust's website claims the closure is due to "significant damage" to the entrance gates.

Speaking to the Reading Chronicle, property manager Amanda beard explained: "I think it's disgraceful for someone to behave like this.

"We are very disappointed for all the families and children who were looking forward to visiting us today."

The Georgian mansion was rescued from ruin in the 1950s by Lord and Lady Lliffe, so the property is a blend of classical, restored 18th century fittings and 1950s décor.

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