Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Great Barton; Retiring reverend cross after copper thieves nearly inflict £60,000 of damage

08:00 03 September 2014

Damaged copper roof at Great Barton Church of Holy Innocents.

Damaged copper roof at Great Barton Church of Holy Innocents.


A retiring reverend narrowly avoided a £60,000 bill when “disrespectful” thieves ripped copper off the roof of a Great Barton church.


Alan Gates, of the Church of Holy Innocents, on Church Road, retired on Sunday after ten years, but not before the thieves left him the disappointing parting gift.

Around £3,000 of damage was done to the church sometime between August 24 at 11.30am and August 26 at 4pm, leaving the prized church organ unprotected underneath.

Alan said: “It is the second time that somebody has tried to steal metal since I have been here.

“This time they have ripped about nine square metres of copper off the roof. I would think to repair the damage it would cost around £2,000 to £3,000.

“There used to be a code amongst even villains that churches were out of bound, but not any more.

“It is irritating. It is a lovely church and it really makes me cross when people disrespect it like that.

“The copper that has been stolen, they would probably get £100 for it, which really doesn’t seem much.”

Alan revealed that the 13th century church could have been facing a much larger bill had the heavens opened up.

“Had there been rain then they would have caused £50,000 to £60,000 in damage to the organ underneath, so thankfully the rain held off,” he said.

The reverend of 13 years is planning to move to Majorca with wife Margaret next month.

The 68-year-old said: “I am also the vicar at Thurston and both churches gave me and my wife a wonderful send off.

“We had a party to see us off and my final service was on Sunday, it was very special. It is just a shame about metal theft, not such a nice goodbye.

“Metal thefts on churches are quite common. The roof was protected with SmartWater, which means there is a good chance the thieves will be prosecuted.

“It is not just churches though – old pubs and load of other buildings have been targeted.”

Despite their plans to retire in the sun, Alan does intend to remain a vicar, offering his services to the chaplaincy on the Spanish island.

The police have been informed about the incident and anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the St Edmundsbury Rural North Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 quoting reference BR/14/629.

Alternatively they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Kieron Dyer on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! 2015. Photo:  ITV/PA Wire

It was a rather uneventful night for former Ipswich Town player Kieron Dyer in the I’m A Celebrity... jungle last night

Annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

The annual Christmas Fayre will see around 120,000 people descend on Bury St Edmunds over four days.

Company director spared jail

A Suffolk company director who crushed a worker to death was spared jail by a judge at Norwich Crown Court today.

Colchester Magistrates' Court

A “stellar” village GP who crashed into a zebra crossing while under the influence of alcohol has been banned from the road.

Nick Alston, Essex Police & Crime Commissioner, is proposing a £5 rise in council tax.

Residents in Essex face a £5 rise in their council tax in a bid to raise an extra £1.2million for community policing in the county.

The Buttermarket Centre will become a £35m pleasure palace

Excitement is building as Ipswich prepares to welcome a string of big-name restaurants as part of the Buttermarket makeover.

There has been a crash on the A12 near Witham

Three vehicles are reported to have crashed on the A12 this evening.

How well do you know your cars?

Test your knowledge in our car photo quiz and see if you can identify which car is which from just one small feature.

Colchester railway station

Two trains serving Colchester Town have been cancelled because of a security issue in London.

Team members from Colchester care home provider Care UK will be swapping their office wear for Santa suits as they enter teams for East Anglia's Children's Hospices Colchester Santa Run.

At least a dozen team members from Care UK in Colchester will be swapping office wear for Santa suits as they enter teams for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) Colchester Santa Run.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24