Church was ‘awash with water’ after thieves ripped lead off roofs in St John’s and Brookwood

March 14, 2019
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Thieves stole lead and damaged the roof of a Woking church, causing an entrance area to be flooded with water and thousands of pounds worth of damage.

St John’s Church in St John’s was one of two places of worship targeted in the area in the past month.

Office staff noticed water leaks at the Church Road church and later discovered the lead theft.

St Saviour’s Church in Brookwood and Brookwood Primary School also had lead stolen between January and March.

The most recent incidents involved the two churches and are believed to have happened between March 3 and 6.

Surrey Police said neighbourhood teams will be carrying out increased patrols in Woking as a result of the incidents.

There were two reports of lead and slate being stolen from St John’s Church. The first theft is believed to have happened overnight between 6pm on March 3 and 8.30am on March 4.

Officers said the second incident is thought to have taken place overnight between 9.50pm on March 5 and 8.30am on March 6.

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A church spokesman described how the thefts were found after office staff spotted water leaks: “On the morning of Monday (March 4), one of the office staff at St John’s Church discovered that water had leaked from the roof into the Welcome area of the church.

“Thinking it was simply a small leak that needed attention, she asked the buildings manager to investigate.

“When he went up to do so, he found that much of the lead had been stripped from the roof, dislodging and damaging a number of slates in the process. He installed some temporary covers to prevent further ingress of water, which had already caused significant damage.

“The following Wednesday the entrance area was awash with water and when the buildings manager investigated again he found that the thieves had come back sometime on Tuesday night and ripped out the remaining lead, causing considerable damage to ridge tiles, and slates, and one section of the parapet had been destroyed by sledge hammers to release the lead.”

Office staff at St John’s Church discovered the damage after noticing water leaks
(Image: St John’s Church)

 

Thieves caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and left behind a broken wing mirror, a sock, footprints and tyre tracks, according to the church.

Vicar Glyn Lucas said: “It is sad that people feel driven to take such measures for a small monetary gain. We hope they realise that they caused significant distress to our church community and hampered the work of a very busy organisation.

“We are praying for them, trusting that they will come to know God’s forgiveness which is offered to all who turn to him.”

Police also received a report at around 12.45pm on March 3 that lead was stolen from the roof of St Saviour’s Church in Connaught Road, Brookwood.

Another view of the damage
(Image: St John’s Church)

 

Anyone with information on these incidents should call 101 or fill out a police online form, quoting reference PR/45190022854, PR/45190023079 or PR/45190023921, respectively.

You can also give information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via an online form

Brookwood Primary School’s roof was vandalised two weeks before the incident at St Saviour’s Church.

Head teacher Jo Green said thieves stole roofing materials from the school twice – at around January 22 and February 16 – and caused £16,000 worth of damage.

Police confirmed officers received a report of lead being stolen from the roof of the school on February 15, but there was no report of a lead theft on January 22.

A photo of the roof of Brookwood Primary School taken on January 23
(Image: Brookwood Primary School)

Two dormer windows were stripped of their lead in January, the head teacher said. Staff did not see the damage until after a rainstorm, when the building was struck with rain damage and internal plasterwork damage.

A further four windows had lead stripped off in February, according to Mrs Green.

She said thieves took the dormers and fascias, leaving the building prone to water damage.

She said: “It’s a frustration really because none of us are in schooling for any other reason than to give our very best for children. Everybody knows we are going through challenges on our budget, and we just don’t need this.

“People should be supporting children, not making it more difficult for them. We’re a proper community school, we’re very inclusive, we welcome all children and for other unkind people to cause this much damage for an amount of lead which is not worth very much.

“It’s of value, but not £16,000 worth of lead.”

She continued: “The school was built in 1906 and these windows were replaced by the school less than 10 years ago, we had all the windows replaced and they’re all done in order to protect the fabric of the building and keep it in good use.

“And they’ve done this damage and just stripped off all the lead they needed.”

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Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/church-awash-water-after-thieves-15963392


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