Published: March 26, 2013
Thousands of pounds of lead stolen from Burnham church's roof

Mean thieves have stolen thousands of pounds worth of lead roofing panels from the top of Burnham-On-Sea's St Andrew's Church over the past week - the third such theft in five years.

Police believe the panels have been stolen from the roof of the church in Victoria Street for their scrap metal value.

Reverend Graham Witts, vicar of St Andrew's, told that a large quantity of the material measuring 20ft x 12ft was taken on Friday, leaving the church with a possible repair bill of up to £8,000.

He said the theft was spotted when a deep trench was seen in a flower bed in the churchyard, made by a large vehicle's wheels.

"It seems a large van was used to take away the material in the early hours of Friday morning. A local carpenter went up onto the roof to take a look for us and confirmed our worst fears when he found a large quantity of the lead had been removed," said Reverend Witts.

"It's a considerable amount and the swift actions saved the interior of the church from being damaged during the heavy rain we had on Friday. The interior paintwork on the ceiling would have been damaged as well."

Meanwhile, sheeting has been installed on the roof, as pictured, to protect the church from flooding.

Rev Witts added that the church's insurers would be unlikely to cover the whole of the loss, which leaves the church out of pocket.

"Due to the high number of lead thefts from churches across the country, our insurer will only pay the first £5,000 of the loss - which means that we face a bill of several thousand pounds to get it repaired."

"It is very sad that we have had another of these thefts - it seems that churches are seen as soft targets."

Police have appealed to any nearby residents who saw people acting suspiciously in the churchyard to contact them on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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