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Parishioners angry after lead is torn off roof

09 October 2008

by Nigel Burnham

Damage: concerned parishioners at St Mary de Castro, Leicester LEICESTER MERCURY

Damage: concerned parishioners at St Mary de Castro, Leicester LEICESTER MERCURY

Church officials in the East Midlands have condemned metal thieves who used crowbars to tear lead from the roof of a 900-year-old Grade-I listed church.

In the fourth attack by vandals and thieves in the past 18 months, drainpipes were also prised off the walls of St Mary de Castro, in Castle Street, Leicester.

Chris Stephens, a deputy church­warden who discovered the damage, said: “I’m angry that people have done this because it will cost thou­sands of pounds to replace and will put more pressure on church re­sources.

“They went for the church’s south porch, which is an easy target because you only need a small ladder to climb up. They must have used a crowbar to get the panelling loose, because you can see the marks on the roof.”

The church, which dates back to 1107, was in the middle of prepara­tions for harvest festival on Sunday. The treasurer, Maurice Palmer, said: “The building insurance will pay for the repairs, but the trouble is it will push up our premiums.

“It is a listed building as well, which means English Heritage prefers like-for-like replacements. If we do replace the lead with more lead, then it’s more than likely we will be targeted again.”

Anyone with information should contact Leicestershire Constab­ulary on 0116 222 2222.

Elsewhere, in County Durham, bungling metal thieves removed lead flashing from the roof of St Thomas the Apostle in Stanhope — but then left it behind, say police.

Durham Police want to trace a man and woman in their 20s who ar­rived at the scene in a white Peugeot van towing a caravan at 9.50 a.m. on 29 September: 0345 60 60 365.

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