Poor street lighting blamed for £8.5k burglary at Sleaford church

Police at the scene of a burglary at the New Life Centre in Sleaford. ANL-161127-080754001
Police at the scene of a burglary at the New Life Centre in Sleaford. ANL-161127-080754001

Callous thieves have stolen more then £8,500 worth electrical items from a church in Sleaford .

The break-in at the New Life Centre in Mareham Lane was discovered yesterday and is believed to have taken place overnight. Among the electrical items taken was a large TV.

Poor street lighting is being blamed for the crime, which as come as a huge blow to volunteers at the church.

Rod Munro, one of the volunteers, said: “Items totalling in excess of £8,500 have been taken and significant damage was made to gain entry to the church.

“The incident itself has been upsetting for our volunteers and its members.

“It is disheartening when a very small group of individuals in this town take part in such criminal activity.”

Sleaford was one of a number of towns plunged into darkness in September when a £1.7 million cost-saving programme by Lincolnshire County Council pulled the plug on thousands of street lights across the county.

A ‘part-night’ lighting scheme was introduced in mostly residential areas where lights are turned on at dusk but switched off at midnight until 6am.

In other areas of the county 17,000 of the total 68,000 lights were swapped for low-energy LED versions which can be dimmed.

Mr Munro said: “There were lights on before the cuts. The lack of lighting now does increase chances of going undetected while carrying out criminal activity. It also reduces visibility for witnesses to detect such behaviour.”

The New Life centre is one of a number of churches that have been targeted un recent weeks. The Riverside Church has been burgled twice and at least four churches have been targeted in last three weeks by lead thieves.

PC Martin Green said: ”We are seeing more over night thefts taking place within the town area and this could well be down to the lack of lighting which will of course help our criminals immensely.“

A reward is being offered for information to help police catch the criminals involved in the burglary at the New Life Centre. Anyone who saw anything suspicious is asked to call police on 101, quoting Incident 50 of November 25.