Emboldened by hitting ‘soft targets’ in quiet, secluded villages, church lead thieves have now even dared to turn their attention to cash prizes in our town centre.
Blatant thieves have taken the greater risk of being seen, clambering onto the roof of Sleaford Methodist Church’s meeting rooms in Northgate and to strip away the lead flashing, allowing the recent heavy rain to leak in and cause thousands of pounds of additional damage.
Property steward for the church, Russ Mathieson said members are naturally upset: “It is another incident we have had to put up with in the last couple of years after a number of cases of vandalism from broken windows and our damaged wall.
“We have a fairly elderly congregation and the church is a big part of their lives. Someone then comes to spoil their enjoyment and prayer, as well as the inconvenience caused to users of the facilities.”
The theft was discovered on Saturday, but it is likely to have happened some time over the previous few days.
The thieves have done considerable damage to the concrete roof tiles, as well as water damage internally, amounting to a repair bill of around £5,000 which Mr Mathieson hopes will be covered by insurance, but repairs are unlikely to be done for at least two weeks meaning buckets are catching drips as more storms arrive.
He said: “Our kitchen is out of use. One of our rooms is badly stained, the walls saturated and will have to be redecorated. Our pre-school had to close for three days last week meaning parents had to make other arrangements.
“We have made other arrangements for them to open this week. It has affected a lot of people who use our church.”
Mr Mathieson said the electrics have been checked but without the kitchen, other groups that meet in the hall are being disrupted, including Sleaford’s concert band, training band and choral society, while others are having to make do.
Police are investigating and anyone with any information can contact them on 101, quoting incident 108 of June 16.