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Metal thieves leave Samlesbury church roof with huge hole
A CHURCH will have a huge hole in its roof over the festive season after being targeted by metal thieves.
St Leonard the Less CofE Church in Samlesbury is facing a large repair bill after lead was stolen from its roof over the weekend.
Thieves rolled a wheelie bin from a nearby school into the church grounds and emptied it before climbing on to to it to steal the lead sheets.
Church leaders have been left distraught by the theft, which will see the building without a proper roof over Christmas.
The raiders struck at the Potter Lane church on Saturday night taking strips of metal from the southern nave.
Church warden, Leonard Redmayne, said: “This is the second time this has happened in a few months.
“The last time they were disturbed and left empty handed.
"But now they have managed to strip a lot of the lead off and it will cost thousands to repair — it is despicable that they keep doing this.”
The roof has been repaired temporarily but the warden estimated that the permanent repairs could cost up to £5,000.
Mr Redmayne added: “As we are a listed building we will have to consult English Heritage before we carry out any work and then we have to wait for the insurance to come through.
"It is very unlikely that it will get sorted before Christmas.”
Meanwhile, Samlesbury farmer, Graham Greenhurst, said he could not leave any metal items in his yard without them being stolen.
He said: “It is dreadful at the moment.
“We can’t leave anything out there overnight especially if it’s metal because we know that it will disappear.
“It is a big problem around here because it is a rural location.”
Detectives have launched an investigation into the theft at the church and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.