Shirley Garlick, Churchwarden, was contacted early on Wednesday 23rd October, by a villager reporting seeing damage to the St Peter’s church roof. On closer inspection 14 panels of lead had been stolen by a gang of professional thieves.
All the lead from the South Chancel roof and 7 panels from the South aisle were taken. Estimates suggest over 1 ton of lead was stolen.
The thieves damaged the lock on the gate at the far side of the reservoir and drove round to the gateway leading up to the church; it is believed they loaded the lead onto a smaller vehicle or trolley and wheeled it down to the waiting vehicle. They must have been there undisturbed for a considerable time.
Whilst throwing the cut lead off the roof one of the older headstones was damaged.
Torrential rain overnight poured through the roof onto the floors, carpet and altar before the roof could be made watertight. Fortunately other items had been removed to a drier place. More rainwater entered the building on Friday when high winds lifted the tarpaulin.
Huge thanks to D & G roofing for covering the roof with tarpaulins and everyone who helped with the mopping up and cleaning of the church.
Whilst the church becomes fit for purpose again services are being held at Thornton Community Centre.
This is the fourth attack on our church; two within the past 3 months. In August the thieves broke through the gates to the reservoir car park drove round and attempted to remove the lead; they failed, but damaged the roof in the attempt. Previously lead was taken on 28th March 2010 and on the 19th August 2017.
This is an evil, destructive crime – if anyone has any information then please contact either myself through this website, or Shirley Garlick.
Let us all be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour around the village.