Lead ripped from community centre roof in overnight theft
PUBLISHED: 05:00 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 06:22 12 December 2019
A community centre struck by thieves who ripped lead from the building's roof is appealing for any help to catch the culprits.
The incident reportedly happened about 1.30am on Monday, December 9 at the Langham Community Centre, just north of Colchester.
Lead flashing from the top of the community centre canopies was stolen by an unknown number of people, who obscured their faces with scarves and hoods.
Motion-activated lights were turned away from the building while the thieves snatched the flashing, leaving the community centre staff and volunteers to discover the damage when they arrived later that morning.
Communications and marketing manager Sue Armstrong, who was among the group on Monday morning, said: "We have a polling station here for the election tomorrow, and a nativity later this week.
"Thankfully the damage they have caused is not so bad we have to close, but we are of course going to have to have it replaced - hopefully with something less likely to be stolen.
"We don't know why they targeted us. I've been told the amount of lead they stole might not even be worth £5.
"But we'll have to pay at least the £100 excess on our insurance, and that's no good for our centre.
"Most of our staff are volunteers. The cleaners and a some full-time staff are paid, but we don't expect this kind of thing to happen.
"This is obviously beyond what we expect to deal with here."
Ms Armstrong said no nearby properties heard anything early Monday morning and in the CCTV footage that was captured there is no sign of a car or van, so the thieves may have arrived at the scene on foot.
"I didn't see any ladder in the camera footage but the canopy they stole from was low, they could have climbed up there," she said.
"We are lucky what they stole is not integral to the main building, but if anyone is able to help with information about this, we would of course appreciate it."
Anyone with dashcam footage or information regarding the theft can call the community centre on 01206 271127 or email email@example.com
Essex Police is investigating the incident.