Police step up patrols around vulnerable village churches after lead thefts

Lead was stolen from the roof of the Church of St Faith in Kelshall. Picture: Herts police

Lead was stolen from the roof of the Church of St Faith in Kelshall. Picture: Herts police - Credit: Archant

Police patrols are being stepped up around vulnerable churches in the villages surrounding Royston, after lead thefts in the area left the buildings with “astronomical” repair costs.

The Church of St Faiths in Kelshall had part of its lead roof stripped sometime before Tuesday, June 18 - around the same time that St Mary's Church in Furneux Pelham, near Buntingford, was also targeted by thieves.

"It is a travesty that these beautiful buildings are being targeted in this way, not only causing damage to the structure of the church at the time, but also leaving them vulnerable to more damage by being exposed to the elements," said Chief Inspector for North Herts Sally Phillips.

"The cost to repair such old buildings is astronomical, so we are determined to find those responsible and prevent further thefts of this nature occurring. "As well as carrying out extra patrols in key areas we are appealing to local residents to be extra vigilant and to report any suspicious activity, particularly around churches," added Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Lilley.

"Also if you are aware of a large quantity of lead being offered for sale we would like to hear from you."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact 101 or report online at www.herts.police.uk/report.

Alternatively, you can stay 100 per cent anonymous by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Over the county border, Whaddon church has also been targeted by thieves this month. Anyone with information should report it to Cambs police on 101.