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Mettingham: Vicar ‘sickened’ by repeated lead theft from All Saints Church says he will no longer replace like for like only to be targeted again

PUBLISHED: 09:20 07 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:20 07 October 2014

Rev Ian Byrne and church warden Gillian Evans at Mettingham Church after a previous theft.

Rev Ian Byrne and church warden Gillian Evans at Mettingham Church after a previous theft.

© Archant 2012

A clergyman has become so frustrated by repeated church lead thefts that he is refusing to replace his latest loss only to be targeted again.

All Saints Church in Mettingham after the lead was taken from its roofAll Saints Church in Mettingham after the lead was taken from its roof

Rev Ian Byrne said he was “sickened” to discover thieves had struck again at All Saints Church in Mettingham, near Bungay – just two years after it was faced with closure due to having to cover the costs of earlier thefts from its roof.

A 15m x 10m section of lead was taken overnight from Saturday into Sunday leaving the church faced with costs of £80,000 to replace and repair it.

Whereas last time Mr Byrne and his parishioners were “desperately upset” by the attack, he says the community has now become resigned to the recurrence of the problem.

Villagers had shown “staggering generosity” in raising money for the new roof, he added. This time, however, Mr Byrne will be using a cheaper roofing material rather than spending more cash on lead only to have it stolen again – no matter what the 
heritage campaigners have 
to say.

“Why would I replace like for like and make the building a target when I know they will come back again,” he said.

“I don’t care about pretty – I’m only interested in protecting the church and I’m fed up of being dictated to by self-appointed organisations.”

He accused the thieves of being heartless and said his thoughts of them were “unrepeatable”.

“There’s a feeling of intrusion and being abused by a bunch of people who don’t care and have no moral thoughts at all,” he said.

“The problem is it diverts me from my actual role as a parish priest; it’s wasting my time, and there’s not enough of us to go round when it comes to the pastoral care of the community as it is.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101.

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