The problem of lead theft from churches in Northamptonshire`s being discussed today at Althorp House.
The seminar, hosted jointly by The Archdeacon of Northampton, The Ven Richard Ormston and Northamptonshire Police s Deputy Chief Constable, Andy Frost, aims to provide an update on the current situation regarding thefts from churches across the county, as well as useful information to help churches to protect themselves.
In the last three months there have been four incidents in Northamptonshire where churches have had large portions of their roofs stolen, leaving huge damage to the fabric of the buildings as well as a hefty bill to replace the lead and make repairs.
In the vast majority of cases insurance companies will not pay the total cost of repairing and replacing roofs, which leaves churches with the task of paying for the work themselves.
Sergeant Sam Dobbs, has organised the event and told Connect FM: ”We are finding that offenders are becoming more technologically savvy when it comes to stealing lead roofs, including the use of drones, which is why it is important churches do all they can to protect these historic buildings.
“ These crimes don t just result in the theft of the lead, but damage to masonry, guttering, water damage inside the church and in one case, the destruction of the church organ.”
Church lead thefts in Northamptonshire in recent months have included:
- St Marys Church, Great Brington, a Grade 1 listed building where between nine and 12 tonnes of lead was stolen in August
- All Saints Church, Lilbourne, where lead was stolen from the roof in August
- St Marys Church, Weldon, a Grade 1 listed building which had one and a half tonnes of lead stolen at the start of this month
- St Andrews Arthingworth, where lead worth £12,000 was stolen from the roof in September. The removal of the lead let water into the church, which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to a Victorian organ.