Church faces huge bill after roof theft

By Gary Smee 22/03 Updated: 23/03 09:38

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Buy photos » All Saints Church was targeted by lead thieves. Picture by Nick Hands 1312006NHR1

CROOKS who stole thousands of pounds worth of lead from the roof of an Evesham church have been described as appalling.

Ten sheets of the metal, worth an estimated £10,000, were taken from All Saints Church in Market Place some time between 5pm on Tuesday (March 20) and just before 10.45am on Wednesday (March 21).

The thieves broke the lock on the church gates so they could get onto the site and then once they were on the roof they cut the large sheets of lead off and threw them to the ground below.

All Saints Church is just the latest in a long line of churches targeted by criminals in the area as older buildings often have lead roofs.

The problem has got so bad in recent years some churches are even considering putting alarms on their roofs to deter thieves.

Rev Andrew Spurr, vicar of Evesham, said they were now looking to do the same after this latest incident.

"I am told that the thieves stole lead whose sale value is about £500. It will cost the church almost £10,000 to replace," he said.

"Each time this happens, we replace the lead with steel, to make All Saints a less attractive target, but the process is adding serious burden to the expensive business of maintaining an ancient building.

"We will be looking at installing a roof alarms very shortly."

PC Bruce Powell, from Evesham Police Station, urged anyone who saw anything to come forward immediately.

"This is an appalling theft from a community building, which has only just had the roof replaced following a previous theft," he said.

"We know from the scene that whoever is responsible for carrying out this crime would have used a vehicle. I would appeal to anyone who was in the area around the time of the theft and saw any vans or trucks parked at the church - or anyone on the roof - to contact us as soon as possible."

Anyone with information can call PC Powell on 0300 333 3000 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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