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Bath: Churches hit with damage as thieves strip lead from roofs

Churches in Bath have been hit with thousands of pounds worth of damage after thieves stripped lead from their roofs.


Rev Tim Buckley said his church suffered "catastrophic" damage after lead was stolen


Churches in Bath have been hit with thousands of pounds worth of damage after thieves stripped lead from their roofs.


Rev Tim Buckley, of St Thomas à Becket church in Widcombe village near Bath, said it had suffered "catastrophic" damage after a recent theft.


Meanwhile, All Saints Church in Weston village has also been targeted in the last few months.


Church wardens are hosting a meeting to discuss how to improve security.


Rev Buckley said: "It was a flat roof of part of the church that was entirely lead so it's a massive amount that's gone.


"We had catastrophic leaking the night after it was taken. We had water pouring in, damaging all of the robes, the carpet was soaked and it was pouring down the walls.


"We are Grade I-listed so the damage to the stones, the cost and the time of repair and the materials, we have got to put back on."



Part of St Thomas à Becket's lead roof that was stolen in Weston village near Bath


At All Saints Church, thieves stole lead three times over the Christmas period.


Hours before the church's biggest event of the year - the annual Christmas Carol Service on 18 December - water started to pour into the toilets and the vestry.


Criminals then returned on two further occasions to strip the rest of the roof over the New Year and once more on 2 January.


The church made temporary repairs by using tarpaulins to stop the rain coming in but damage had already been caused to the carpet and contents.


Rev Yacomeni took a selfie of himself while trying to patch up the roof


The Rev Tom Yacomeni took a selfie of himself trying to patch up the roof and shared it with parishioners, saying: "The face of someone trying but somewhat failing to 'love their enemies'."


"As a church we would rather spend money on helping out the community, especially in a cost of living crisis," he told BBC Points West.


"Instead we are using it to replace stolen lead."


Kevin Thomas, risk manager at Gloucester based Ecclesiastical Insurance - the lead insurer for churches - said: "Metal theft in churches has declined in recent years.


"But churches should not get complacent and they should try and engage with neighbours to see if they spot any suspicious activity and report it."


Both churches have contacted the police.


Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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