Church roof is stripped of lead worth thousands

Rev Peter Hopkins, St Sebastians church. Lead stolen from roof.
Rev Peter Hopkins, St Sebastians church. Lead stolen from roof.

LEAD worth thousands of pounds has been stolen from the church in Great Gonerby.

St Sebastian’s Church has been dealt a blow by thieves for the second time in two years, and the Rev Peter Hopkins is appealing for anyone with information to come forward so police might catch the culprits.

Rev Peter Hopkins, St Sebastians church. Lead stolen from roof.

Rev Peter Hopkins, St Sebastians church. Lead stolen from roof.

CCTV installed after the first theft two years ago captured two men stripping the valuable lead from the church roof in the early hours of Friday.

However, the theft was not discovered until Wednesday morning, as the Rev Hopkins climbed a ladder to replace a piece of glass in a leaded light.

He said: “It was lucky that I discovered it. It could have gone unnoticed for months otherwise.

I was able to look on the camera footage and saw two men with torches moving about on the roof.”

Lead thefts, in particular from churches, are becoming increasingly common, costing insurers thousands of pounds. Insurers will cover churches for annual claims of up to £15,000, but any further cost has to be paid for by the church.

The Rev Hopkins said he hopes the cost of replacing the three metre by four metre roofing comes to no more than £15,000 as the church will struggle to stump up the remaining cash.

In a bid to ensure the church is not hit by thieves for a third time, the Rev Hopkins plans to step up security.

He said: “We’re going to be increasing the alarms. Although it costs money, it’s relatively cheap compared with £15,000 to replace the lead.”

Inspector Nigel Storey, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “We are working closely with the scrap metal dealers in the area to ensure that thieves do not have an outlet for their stolen goods.

“I would ask residents to be mindful of people or vehicles that they see acting in a suspicious manner, particularly around vulnerable targets such as churches and village halls.”

l Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0300 111 0300.