A COMMUNITY has been left ‘devastated’ after a large amount of lead was stolen from a church.

Parishioners of St Helen’s Church in Waddington were left feeling angry after lead flashing was removed from its roof.

There was also damage caused to the slate and a waterproof protective covering, which had been placed over the roof to keep the rain out.

St Andrew’s Church in Slaidburn was also targeted however nothing was taken.

Jan Walsh, the Waddington churches secretary, said this was the fifth time it had been targeted in recent years.

She said: “It has left me feeling angry and annoyed really.

“We are devastated. We have had to put a tarpaulin over the roof because there was a gaping hole so that is rather unsightly.

“The weather will damage things inside now, it happened last time lead was taken and it will happen again.

“It’s dreadful all round. It takes dedicated work by volunteers to keep the church going and events like this add financial bearings which hamper that.

“Our insurance premiums will no doubt be affected by this which will make it harder to pay for in the future.”

The Grade II-listed church was rebuilt in 1901 after two years of construction, with the tower remaining unchanged since the 1500s.

Jonathan Oldfield, rector of St Andrew’s Church in Church Street, Slaidburn, said he was concerned about his church being targeted.

He said: “There was damage done to the roof but nothing was taken.

“We believe the people doing this must have been disturbed during the process and that’s why they didn’t take anything.

“We are thankful it was only minor damage but this could have been worse.

“This isn’t an isolated incident as lead was taken from Waddington’s church, but it has happened to us before.

“Repairing church roofs can be very difficult.

“Proper procedures need to be followed and permission from the church authorities and Heritage England is needed

“It causes many problems and it’s rather a long process to sort out.”

Police said they were aware of the incident and urged anyone with information to call 101