Appeal to protect church roofs

St Peter and St Paul Church, Lavenham ENGANL00120120810155717
St Peter and St Paul Church, Lavenham ENGANL00120120810155717
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A church in Bures is one of the first in the county to have specialist alarms fitted after the number of lead roof thefts in Suffolk rose to eight.

In just over a month lead has been stolen from the roofs of eight churches, leaving damage worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Suffolk churches at risk of lead theft attacks have responded quickly to last week’s offer of help from Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (SHCT), to enable them to afford approved roof alarms.

Donations to the Trust’s “Alarms for Churches Appeal” are beginning to come in from residents concerned by the recent spate of attacks.

The latest incident saw All Saints Church in Chevington targeted last Wednesday, although the theft was not discovered until Friday.

As a result churches are being asked to inspect their roofs frequently.

Dennington, which lost part of its roof to thieves, and St Mary’s, in Bures, are the first churches to have had roof alarms installed under the SHCT scheme, which mean that the remaining lead is better protected and covered by insurance.

The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust launched the “Alarms for Churches Appeal”, so that alarm systems can be installed on the roofs of all churches at risk as soon as possible.

The Trust is offering to cover half the cost of involved, up to a value of £2,500 per church.

The SHCT is asking for the people of Suffolk to support the appeal.

“We have already sent 24 enrolment forms out to churches and chapels, and seven have already returned completed forms,” explained Martin Favell, chairman of SHCT.

“Two of the six targeted churches, have already installed approved alarms since the theft of their lead.”

St Peter and St Paul Church in Lavenham’s new alarm system was paid for from money raised from the local community after it’s roof was targeted and stripped of lead last month.

To donate to the appeal visit www.justgiving.com/suffolkhct.