Lead thieves target two churches - causing up to £75,000 worth of damage

St Peter and St Paul's Church roof in Gosberton after it was stripped of lead by thieves.
St Peter and St Paul's Church roof in Gosberton after it was stripped of lead by thieves.

Churches in two villages near Boston have been targeted by thieves within hours of each other - causing up to £75,000 worth of damage.

Lead was stripped from the roofs of St Swithun’s Church in Bicker and St Peter and St Paul’s in Gosberton - leaving both buildings open to the elements.

Local builders help to lay a temporary cover the roof of St Swithun's in Bicker before the rain gets in.

Local builders help to lay a temporary cover the roof of St Swithun's in Bicker before the rain gets in.

Gosberton’s church is believed to have been targeted in the early hours of Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19 - where about six tonnes of lead was taken. The work to repair the roof is estimated to cost in the region of £40-60,000.

In a statement, The Rev Ian Walter said: “We believe men worked on the roof cutting lead for an hour or two each time, and a truck and a black BMW 3 series were involved. It is possible the thieves might return, and so we would be very grateful if you would be vigilant and if you see or hear anything suspicious please contact the police immediately by dialling 999.”

At Bicker’s St Swithun’s Church, thieves clambered onto the roof over the same period to steal lead - causing £15,000 worth of damage.

Local builders were called in to quickly install a temporary cover on the exposed roof before the rain could get in.

The interior of the Bicker church showing holes in the roof where the lead was removed by thieves.

The interior of the Bicker church showing holes in the roof where the lead was removed by thieves.

Martin Salisbury, from Friends of St Swithun’s Church, said the church supporters were ‘stunned and angry’ by the theft: “We have now alarmed the remaining roof and are installing cameras,” he said. “We will never be discouraged from saving our heritage and protecting it. The recommended replacement is terne coated steel, which the ‘low life’ don’t currently consider worth pillaging.”

The church was already appealing for funds to repair its roof before the recent theft.

Fundraising pages have been set up for both churches.

For St Swithun’s visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/drmartinsalisbury.

For St Peter and St Paul’s visit www.gofundme.com/gosberton-church-roof.

Any information about the thefts should be reported to Lincolnshire Police by dialling 101.