Thieves steal lead off Norwich church roofs
churches have become the latest to be struck by thieves stealing valuable lead off their roofs.
Villagers in Trowse had raised £14,000 for the renovation at St Andrew's Church but the roof above the organ chamber has been completely stripped of the precious metal and parts of the side aisle roof had been rolled back, apparently ready for removal.
The church is having to make do with a temporary cover to keep the rain from damaging the inside of the church, including the organ, which itself has recently been overhauled at the cost of thousands of pounds.
St Andrew's, which is more than 700 years old, is central to the community of Trowse and priest in charge, Canon Michael Long, is defiant the criminals will not ruin the bonds in the village. He said: “It is frustrating and just a nuisance because we've just had £14,000 spent on repairs to the roof which was raised by the village so it is upsetting. There's no point getting annoyed about it. Trowse is such a wonderful village with such community support and so we will work together. It takes more than that to get us down.”
Crooks have also ripped off lead from the roof of St Thomas Heigham Church, in Earlham Road, just months after it was hit by an arson attack
Although the offenders left behind the five metres of lead flashing after being spotted on Wednesday August 15, carrying out the theft, the repair bill is likely to run into hundreds of pounds.
The attack comes just months after £100,000 worth of damage was caused following an arson attack.
The earlier incident occurred a day after Rev Philip Young, 54, took over as vicar and he told how the community had rallied around to begin to recover from the arson attack.
He said: “The lead is only held to the roof with a strip of mortar and when they ripped it out it took a few bricks with it.
“I don't know if they were disturbed, as the lead was left by the back door.”
Churches across Norwich had been warned by the diocese they were being targeted by thieves, who can make a mint by selling the lead on.
The damage to the two churches is the latest in a spate of thefts across Norwich in the wake of rising copper and lead prices.
Copper is also being stolen from lightning conductors at places of worship with both types of theft leaving churches with bills which can run into tens of thousands of pounds.
One of the Norfolk churches to be stripped of lead was the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth, while thieves also tried to prise metal off a church in Dereham.
Pictured above is Canon Michael Long outside St Andrew's Church, Trowse, where lead was stolen from the roof.