Polstead left with £25k damage after lead theft spate

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

It appears a church alarm may have failed to go off after thieves stole £25,000 worth of lead from the roof of Polstead Church.

St Mary’s Church is one of a number of churches hit in recent weeks in Suffolk and comes just a year after another spate saw 12 churches targeted, including in Groton and Lavenham.

In Lavenham, as well as the replacement lead, water damage left a bill of more than £100,000.

This time around churches have also been hit in Great Glemham and Yoxford, while St Clement’s Hospital in Ipswich was also targeted by thieves.

Polstead was stripped on October 27, with the owner of Polstead Hall believed to have spooked the culprits as he left at around 5.15am, forcing them to leave in a hurry,

Lead was stolen from the aisle roof and some from the north section of the roof.

Bill Wigglesworth, church warden, said he estimated there to be about £25,000 of damage.

The village is now hoping its insurance will cover these costs.

Investigations are taking place to see whether the alarm failed to go off or if the alarm warning sound is too quiet, as checks after the theft showed it to be working, despite it failing to alert residents.

“We are thinking of having a very loud alarm fitted now,” said Mr Wigglesworth.

A temporary cover was put straight on, fortunately before any rain could fall and cause further damage inside the church, and it is hoped a full repair will be carried out next year.

Suffolk Police is investigating the recent thefts.

After the spate in 2015 South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, alongside other MPs, successfully campaigned for the Government funded Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund scheme to include cover for cases of theft.