Church faces £30,000 repair bill after lead thieves strike
A CHURCH faces a repair bill of up to £30,000 after thieves stripped lead from its roof.
Most of the lead on the north side of St Peter’s Church roof in Frampton Cotterell has been stolen, leaving rain pouring in.
A churchwarden discovered a leak in the roof, on the side of the building away from the road, on August 14.
The day before the discovery some strange holes were spotted in the grass near the building. At the time they were dismissed as marks from badgers digging but it is now thought they were made when the lead landed after it was thrown to the ground.
The lead has been painted with Smartwater, which means it can be identified by police, and there were signs on the gates to inform thieves.
It is not the first time the church has fallen victim to lead thieves. Lead from other areas of the roof was stolen over 20 years ago and replaced with a substitute.
Church warden Carolie Green said: "There have been a lot of thefts of lead from church roofs lately, and recently it was our turn.
"The roof consisted of a layer of wood, covered by a layer of lead.
"We are very grateful to Dave Hanks, local builder and roofer, who went up on the roof that same afternoon, to put a temporary cover on the timbers to prevent any more water coming in.
"But what a pity that we didn’t know to get the roof covered before it rained – that would have prevented all the damage done to the interior.
"Hopefully the pews and floor will dry out without sustaining permanent damage. But a lot of the cloths and cushions, lovingly hand-stitched by parishioners in years gone by, have had to be sent to be dried and cleaned.
"And there is a large picture which was restored just a few years ago at the expense of one of our congregation in memory of her husband; water marks appeared on that, and we hope that it’s not damaged beyond repair."
The theft is believed to have happened on the night of August 12. Anyone who thinks they saw something suspicious in the area at the time or has information which could help police should call 101 and quote the crime reference number 5219 186 939.