Lead stolen from another Suffolk church in Lavenham – leaving what could be a £150,000 repair bill

The church of St Peter and St Paul.

The church of St Peter and St Paul. - Credit: Archant

Metal thieves have struck again in Suffolk – with lead this time ripped from the roof of a church in Lavenham.

Police said the theft happened between 10pm on Monday and 8am yesterday morning at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in the west Suffolk village.

The quantity of lead stolen is not currently known. It follows a similar incident in St Mary’s Church in Combs, near Stowmarket, where lead was stolen – which will cost £150,000 to replace. That theft happened between Sunday at 12.30pm and 7am on Monday.

John Howard, spokesman for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said it was too early to know the value of the lead stolen or the cost of repairs for the Lavenham church – but early indications are it could be similar to Combs’ £150,000 bill.

Mr Howard said the lead was stolen from the Lavenham church’s north-aisle roof.

“The stealing of lead from church roofs is not just an attack on the church building but also the community which it serves,” he said.

“The diocese is working with Suffolk Constabulary to make communities aware of how they can frustrate thieves.

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“It is imperative that lead roofs are marked with a product such as Smartwater and Parochial Church Councils consider installing roof alarms. The cost of these measures are minuscule compared to the cost of replacing a lead roof.”

At Combs reverend Chris Childs and volunteer Hayley Homyer found tyre marks in the Grade I-listed medieval church’s yard on Monday morning, and saw damage to the stonework at the side of the building. Church staff and volunteers spoke of their ‘devastation’ upon seeing the damage.

Yesterday Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, commented on the crimes.

He said: “Our beautiful buildings need to be cherished and we must do whatever we can to combat heritage crime.

“[A] dedicated rural crime team, led by Pc Mark Bryant is doing an excellent job. This team, supported by Suffolk’s two dedicated rural Special Constabulary units, has a very good understanding of the negative impact heritage crime has in rural areas.”

Anyone with any information about the lead thefts should call police on 101. Calls can also be made to Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.