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Thieves steal lead from roof of St Mary’s Church in Alne
THE roof and guttering of a 12th-century North Yorkshire church could be replaced with stainless steel after thieves stripped lead from the building.
St Mary’s Church in Alne was targeted by vandals who peeled lead from gutters and stole drainage pipes, before being disturbed and getting away.
The vicar, the Reverend Chris Park, said he did not know how much the lead was worth, but the amount stolen ran the length of part of the church.
He said: “The chancel is all lead and they’ve stolen the gutters on the south side and some of the downpipes. It looks like they’ve started to roll it up and been disturbed.
"The gutter is a couple of feet wide and about the length of the chance. This happened and then it rained and so we’re still finding damp in the church because the rain just falls on to the stone then drips into the church.”
Following the theft, Mr Park said alternatives to replacing the lead had to be considered to prevent further thefts.
“The builders who look after us have sealed the building so we’re not in danger of getting wet, but we're waiting to get it repaired and we will probably do that with stainless steel. We’re looking to change the whole roof to that as it’s not as valuable to thieves.
"I imagine they parked a van at the bottom of the church path and made off with it. It’s a small quiet village so there wouldn’t have been many people around at 1am or 2am. It’s frustrating. We’re looking to have it repaired and we will have to replace the whole roof sooner or later, but it’s a blow.
“We use Smart Water, an invisible liquid that shows under ultra-violet (UV) light and contains a unique forensic fingerprint on it, so in theory it will show up if sold on.”
Mr Park said he was concerned further security measures such as CCTV could alter the church’s appearance. You’re starting to get into the territory of this being a peaceful house of God, not somewhere like a shopping mall where people get mugged, so I don’t know that we’re going to do.”
Anyone who saw suspicious vehicles in the area should phone North Yorkshire Police on 101.
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