Lead thieves strike four west Norfolk churches in the last fortnight.

Four churches in west Norfolk have been targeted by lead thieves in the past two weeks.

St Edmund, Downham Market

St Edmunds, Downham Market, lost an estimated £30,000 of lead from the south aisle. Thieves struck in the early hours of Wednesday, February 12.

But three further churches have either lost lead or attempts have been made in the last fortnight.

Rev Ken Waters, priest-in-charge at St George’s Church, Methwold, said thieves struck in the early hours yesterday, Tuesday, February 24.  This was the fourth attempted lead theft in west Norfolk and the Rev Waters urged other churches to be vigilant.  Police arrived within 10 minutes when the thieves were apparently disturbed at Methwold. It has a roof alarm, and this was triggered at about 2.30am, he said.  Although some damage was done because the thieves had managed to strip some lead from the roof, it had not been loaded onto a truck.

Others churches have reported attempts to remove lead including St George’s, Gooderstone, and also at Fincham.

The latest theft was at village school at Carbrooke, near Watton, which also had lead stolen from its roof. St Peter & St Paul.   Carbrooke Primary Academy, in Church Street, sustained water damage following this latest theft in the last few days.

The Norfolk Churches Trust supported the “Raise the Alarm” scheme, launched by Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner Lorne Green and the then Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, in August 2017.

In the two previous years, a total of 48 churches has sustained lead thefts, which led to the launch of the alarm scheme.

A total of £250,000 was raised with £100,000 contributed by Norfolk’s Police Commissioner. The Norfolk Churches Trust gave £50,000 as did the Allchurches Trust to encourage churches to install alarms. The Round Tower Churches Society gave £2,500.