East Bergholt: Donors pay CCTV costs after theft appeal

Rev Mrs Stephne Van Der Toorn beside the patched up roof where thieves stole lead from the roof of S

Rev Mrs Stephne Van Der Toorn beside the patched up roof where thieves stole lead from the roof of St Mary's Church, The Street, East Bergholt. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A VICAR who appealed for donations to help pay for security equipment worth more than £6,000 following a church theft admits she has been “overwhelmed” with the community’s response.

St Mary the Virgin Church, in East Bergholt, was handed a £6,699 bill to install CCTV and roof alarm equipment after thieves stole roof lead just hours before a wedding, which angered the community last September.

The Rev Steph van der Toorn spoke of her “disappointment” following the incident and issued an appeal for donors to help pay for the security costs in the East Anglian Daily Times last month.

“It’s been an incredible response,” Mrs van der Toorn said. “We’ve been overwhelmed with the response of the community. They have been very generous.

“Of course it was sad it had to happen, but we are very grateful to everyone who kindly gave us a donation, big or small.

“I have written to everyone saying thank you. It shows the community cares about its church.”

The lead thieves climbed on to the roof of the landmark and stole four sheets of the valuable material. The discovery was made when a hole appeared in the church ceiling on Saturday, September 22.

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The wedding went ahead in the afternoon as planned. Mrs van der Toorn’s husband later climbed on to the church roof to investigate and realised the lead had gone.

A security company is now contracted for after-hours call-outs and residents have been trained in rapid response.

Police are investigating the incident.

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