A large quantity of lead has been stolen from the roof of a church – leaving parishioners facing a big bill to repair the damage.
Thieves targeted St Andrew’s Church, in Witham-on-the-Hill, at some point between Thursday, July 14, and Monday, July 18.
Large sections of lead above the church’s lady chapel and north wing have been removed – and the sky can now be seen from the inside the building.
The church dates back to the 12th century and members of the parochial church council and currently arranging for the hole to be covered over temporarily before permanent repairs can be made.
Church council member Colleen Clarke said: “This is very sad news and we appealing for anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously near the church over the past few days to contact the police.
“A significant quantity of lead has been taken and it can’t have been a quick job to remove it.
“This is not something we have had a problem with before but we are likely to face a big bill to get the roof repaired.
“Our insurance only covers part of the value of the roof because lead theft is sadly a common problem for churches.
“It’s likely we’ll have to have a fundraising drive to help pay for the repairs.”
It is not currently known how much it will cost to repair the damage.
The roof at St Andrew’s Church had previously been treated with Smart Water – a hi-tech liquid used to invisibly mark high value goods and materials – meaning that selling the lead on would be difficult for whoever stole it.