Lead theft leaves Newbury Park church with �7,000 bill

CHURCH officials have been left with a �7,000 bill after thieves struck, stripping lead from the vestry roof.

The theft at St Peter’s, Aldborough Hatch, happened sometime after Christmas when the last regular inspection was made.

The ceiling in the vestry of the 137-year-old church was damaged after rain leaked through the roof.

Church warden Martyn Stewart said parishioners were shocked when they discovered through their newsletter the cost of repairs would be have to come from church funds.

“People were left saddened when they read about the theft in our monthly newsletter, even more when they saw the huge amount that would be coming out of the fund.

“Unfortunately the insurance would not cover the cost of re-decorating the ceiling. I don’t know what goes through people’s heads.”

A police spokesman said the theft was not a common occurrence.

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“We are urging people to report these thefts to us so we can investigate,” he said.

Work on the 60-year-old vestry started last week and is expected to go until Friday.

Mr Stewart said measures had been taken to stop the damage happening again. “Builders advised we use a similar material to the lead but with no market value if the thieves try and strike again.

“We are also putting in signs telling people that there’s nothing worth stealing to deter anyone,” he added.

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