Thieves have returned to a remote 13th century church to steal yet more lead from its roof, in spite of security measures.
Rev Patrick Prigg, rector of the Glem Valley Benefice, which includes Holy Trinity Church, Boxted, said after several raids they had already marked the roof lead with Smartwater, which reveals its origins if lead is recovered anywhere, and they are now installing bollards to stop people getting vehicles to the building.
“Every once in a while they come and take strips of lead from the roof,” he said. “We’ve lost about £1,700 worth of lead.
“Since the first time, somebody who lives nearby has had their dogs out in the garden, but this was a night when they had a new puppy, so the dogs were indoors.”
Fortunately, because it is Smartwater marked, they are fully insured.
Suffolk Police say the latest theft was discovered at 6.45am on March 12 when 14 strips of lead, each measuring 8ft by 2ft, were stolen.
They are seeking information about a white van and a car seen leaving the area the night before and ask anyone who saw the vehicles or suspicious activity in the area to call 101 quoting reference 37/22165/16.
Rev Prigg said Suffolk Historic Churches Trust had approached them about a roof alarm, for which the trust pays half the installation costs.
But he added: “On top of that you have to commit to a 10 years maintenance contract at £600 a year. When you have a church that already isn’t paying its way, how do you raise the money?
Martin Flavell, trust chairman, said: “Most of our Suffolk churches with lead roofs have acted under the SHCT ‘Alarms for Churches’ scheme to protect themselves. However, there are still a small minority of church PCCs yet to take up SHCT’s offer.”