Spate of lead roofing thefts leaves Rutland churches out of pocket

St Mary's Church, Manton EMN-160817-142613001
St Mary's Church, Manton EMN-160817-142613001

Rutland churches were among four targeted by lead thieves in the space of less than a week.

At St Mary’s Church, in Manton, two or three rolls of lead were removed from the upper roof, leaving a hole of around six square metres.

St Edmund's Church, Egleton EMN-160817-142636001

St Edmund's Church, Egleton EMN-160817-142636001

It is believed that thieves struck on or around Sunday, August 7.

Three days earlier, an alarm was triggered at St Edmund’s Church in Egleton. A quantity of lead had been removed from the roof but was found on the ground nearby.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin at Wyfordby, near Melton Mowbray, was targeted on Saturday, August 6 and All Saints in Lubenham, near Market Harborough, on Monday, August 8.

Simon Aley, church warden at St Mary’s, in Manton, said: “This is the first time our church has been targeted in this way but other churches in Rutland have experienced it on many occasions and the fear is we could be hit again.

“Those who are responsible for the theft were clearly only interested in lead which is currently very valuable. They would have had to climb up on the lower roof, which is covered in copper, to reach the upper roof, but the copper was not touched.

“The hole has been covered temporarily with a tarpaulin to keep out any rain and we are considering replacing the lead with another metal which is less desirable to thieves to try and stop this happening.”

Susan Bolton, church warden at St Edmund’s Church, said it is believed the thieves were disturbed after the alarm was triggered.

She said: “The alarm was installed four or five years ago following a theft of lead.

“Some lead had been removed and left on the ground. Costs will be incurred get the lead put back in place and it’s likely only part of that work will be covered by insurance.

“Sadly it’s a problem many churches experience. Most village churches don’t have a lot of money and thefts like this are a major source of concern.”

Anyone with any information should call Leicestershire police on 101.