Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

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.

Archant

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.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Photo: David Tett

From half-term fun and open gardens to the Suffolk Show and air displays, there’s plenty to see and do in Suffolk during the school holidays.

John Popplewell with his 45lb stingray

A Clacton fisherman caught a “monster” stingray weighing nearly three and a half stone on an Essex beach this week – and filmed it all on his new GoPro.

Essex fire crews.

Firefighters attending a blaze in the basement of a Harwich home initially thought someone was trapped in the house.

A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO outside Heveningham Hall. Picture: Cameron Maynard/Aperto Photos.

An 18th Century Suffolk mansion has announced plans to host a gathering of rare classic cars as part of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of its annual country fair.

BBC's Springwatch has arrived in Minsmere Nature reserve for the third year.
Presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan.

A new Springwatch star is likely to be born at RSPB Minsmere in the next three weeks to capture the hearts of millions of viewers in the same way that a hapless little fish did during last year’s immensely popular BBC nature showcase series.

Gina Long celebrating with the family on receiving her MBE

Three community heroes from Suffolk were honoured for their selfless work and made an MBE by Prince Charles.

File picture of Suffolk police officer.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child under the age of 13 in a play area in Gislingham.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24