Church staff stunned after estimated 12 tonnes of lead stolen from roof of Gosberton Parish Church
Gosberton villagers are stunned after the parish church was targeted twice in 48 hours by lead thieves.
An estimated 12 tonnes of lead was stolen from the roof of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, in Westhorpe Road, on two occasions overnight between Thursday and Saturday.
The Vicar of Gosberton, the Rev Ian Walters, admitted that roof timbers may have been damaged because of the amount of lead taken.
Mr Walters confirmed that about two thirds of the lead covering the church’s Lady Chapel had gone between Thursday and Friday, followed by another amount 24 hours later.
He said: “Our churchwarden Iris Bennett called us at about 9.30am on Friday morning.
“She had gone into the church to do some routine work and saw daylight through part of the chapel roof.
“The timbers must have been damaged too and damage to the grass makes it likely that it happened overnight on Thursday.
“Then thieves struck again on Friday night when a similar amount of lead was taken
“But they were disturbed by a neighbour who alerted police and they were here within three minutes.
“A black BMW 3 series car was one of the vehicles used by the thieves who loaded some lead in its boot and then sped off towards Donington.
Mr Walters revealed that the lead on top of the grade I-listed church is security-marked and can be detected even if it is melted down.
“However, the repair work is likely to cost the church several thousand pounds,” he said.
“I would appreciate the help and knowledge of locals who have CCTV that might have caught the vehicle driving away from the church.
“These thieves must be stopped as it is our community they are targeting and we have to make them understand that they are not welcome here.
Gosberton district councillor Henry Bingham said: “These types of thefts from our historical buildings are disgusting and put our local heritage and history at risk.
“The cost of repairing the church will be in the thousands and could disturb its usage.
“Hopefully, the police will be proactive in catching the people involved as the amount of lead stolen was substantial.”
Coun Simon Walsh, another district councillor for Gosberton, said: "I was saddened to be advised that lead had been removed from the church roof, even more so when the roof was further damaged within 24 hours.
"I would appeal for anyone who may have any information, however insignificant they feel it may be, to contact the police."
Anyone with information should call Spalding Police Station on 101, quoting incident 160 of May 17.
More by this authorZoe Myall