Lead thieves target Welwyn church

LOWLIFE thieves stole lead from a church roof in a raid under cover of darkness.

The theft, at St Mary’s Church, in Church Street, Welwyn, could leave the prized organ vulnerable to weather damage.

Worried churchwarden Jane Carr spoke out amid fears that lead thefts are on the rise.

She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We’ve had lead stolen from off our roof last weekend.

“In the last week or two we’ve heard it’s on the rise.

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“It’s of major concern to us.”

She added: “We came down on Sunday morning for normal services and could see that the lead had gone.

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“Of most concern to us is that they’ve taken lead from the part of the roof above the organ.

“The maximum level of insurance for lead thefts is �5,000 and the cost of repairing any collateral damage will leave us completely sunk.”

Ms Carr said police scenes-of-crime officers arrived on Sunday, and neighbours were asked to be “extra vigilant” in case the thieves return.

The Rev David Munchin, Welwyn team rector, said: “The church roofs are protected by Smartwater, a hi-tech liquid which identifies where lead has been stolen from, so there is a good chance if the thieves try to sell it they will be caught.

“This system has been instrumental in convicting many lead thieves across the country since it was introduced.

“Thieves clearly don’t consider, and simply don’t care about, the knock-on effects that are created by their selfishness.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Some lead flashing was stolen between 5.30pm on Saturday and 8.45am on Sunday.

“So far there have been no arrests but we are investigating.”

Police also launched a witness appeal. If anyone saw anything suspicious, call 0845 33 00 222.

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