THIEVES who vandalised a doctor's surgery roof caused £3,000 worth of damage and left rainwater leaking in just hours before a government inspection of the premises.

They took lead valued at £30 but broke hundreds of slates in the raid in Blackburn on Tuesday morning leaving parts of the building open to the effects of the recent rainy weather.

It left staff clearing up frantically as a team from the Care Quality Commission were inspecting the Roe Lee Surgery in Whalley New Road the day after.

The loss of the lead and broken tiles left water leaking into the consulting room of one of its two GPs, Dr Irfan Zafar.

Roe Lee councillor Phil Riley said: “It is just terribly sad that there are people who treat valuable public assets with such contempt.

“For the sake of a few pounds worth of lead, they have caused huge inconvenience and unpleasantness for dozens of patients and the surgery’s medical staff.”

Sheila Whiteoak, practice manager, said: “This was absolutely disgraceful.

“It is causing a lot of unpleasantness and inconvenience for our patients.

“We came in on Tuesday and found a couple of slates on the floor.

“Further investigations revealed they had taken some lead off the roof and damaged around 600 tiles.

“To make things worse we had a CQC inspection the following day and had to explain why water was coming into Dr Irfan’s surgery as the team went round.

“We have had a local builder round to patch the roof but with all the rain recently it hasn’t stopped the leaks into the surgery.

“It is going to cost us more than £3,000 to repair and the builder estimated the lead would be worth around £30.

“We have CCTV which shows two youths in hoodies at the back of the premises and then throwing the lead from the roof to the ground, stamping on it to fold it and taking it away.

“We have given it to the police and hope they are caught soon so they don’t come back.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers were called around 8.30am on November 7 to a GP surgery on Whalley New Road, Blackburn, to reports of a theft.

“We attended and found that sometime between 8pm on November 6 and 8am on November 7 someone had stripped lead from the roof of the surgery before making off. Investigations are continuing.”