Sproughton: Anger as All Saints Church is hit by lead thieves ...for second time

A 14th century church faces a repair bill of up to �15,000 after lead was stolen from the roof for the second time in just five weeks.

The blow came as the congregation of All Saints Church in Lower Street, Sproughton, prepared to celebrate Easter, casting a cloud over some of the most important services in the Anglican church’s calendar.

Between 9.30pm on Wednesday and 9am the next morning, a large amount of lead, worth around �6,000, was stolen from the south side of the building’s roof, damaging tiles on the porch roof in the process.

The lead was so heavy that thieves reportedly used the church’s wheelie bin, which was outside, to take it away.

This comes just a few weeks after another �5,000 of lead was taken from the north face of the building in mid-March.


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Churchwarden Michael Earey, who has looked after the building for 28 years, said: “It’s shattering because of the cost of repairs, and because of the damage to part of our heritage.

“We’re working hard to keep going – the upkeep on a medieval building is always expensive – but when you have this wanton damage, it does no one any good.

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“If it carries on like this, we shall be bankrupt because we can’t afford to keep repairing it. If we fix it by replacing the lead, that will probably be stolen as well.”

Staff at the medieval church, which has a number of Victorian additions, is hoping English Heritage will relax its previous requirement that the building retain its original lead on the roof to prevent the danger of future thefts.

They have also treated all exposed metalwork with hi-tech Smart Water to improve the chances of detection if another crime does occur, and installed floodlights on the roof.

But repairing the roof could be financially crippling for the church, as health and safety regulations dictate they must put up scaffolding to allow workmen access, which will add significantly to the cost of fixing the damage.

“We can’t get much from insurance companies because they have paid out about �21million over the past four years in lost metal from churches,” added Mr Earey,

“So they are now reducing their pay out to about �5,000 maximum.

“It’s damaging the building and we can’t afford to keep replacing it. At this rate, we would be bankrupt within a year or so unless we get some generous help.”

Church officials have asked neighbours and passers-by to look out for any suspicious activity in future and call police if they suspect something going on.

Police are also asking anyone who saw the incident on Wednesday night or who has any other information to get in touch with Pc Liz Allen on 01473 613500.

n What do you think of this blow to the church over the Easter period? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk

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