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Thieves steal Houghton Conquest church's lead roof

Thieves steal Houghton Conquest church's lead roof

Plastic sheeting has now been placed on the roof by builders to protect it from the elements
"Audacious" thieves have stolen an entire lead roof from a Grade I-listed church.About 20 tonnes of lead was taken from All Saint's Church, Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire, over "a prolonged period of time", police said.The theft was discovered on Tuesday and police believe the thieves posed as tradesmen to gain access to the roof.The church said the insurance would not cover the repairs, which are expected to cost tens of thousands of pounds.Treasurer Joyce Bullock said although the church was insured, the claim would not cover all the costs of the theft, so "I don't know how we are going to pay for it".
"I just pray everyday that nothing else happens," she said.
All Saint's Church in Houghton Conquest dates from the 14th Century
The theft was uncovered on Tuesday when daylight could be seen through the ceiling and rubble was on the ground.Sarah Hannant, a member of the congregation, said: "This is devastating, it has caused a lot of stress we don't have enough volunteers as it is, it just takes the wind out of your sales."The church also needs a new boiler and vestry roof.Churchwarden Margaret Tyler said the theft was "heartbreaking" but a wedding and their harvest festival service were still going ahead this weekend. Gary Mudd, who lives in the village said: "I feel stunned; the morals of the thieves are appalling."
Thieves also damaged pillars and stonework on the Grade I-listed church
Insp Nick Masters said: "We suspect the people responsible may have been going backwards and forwards to the church for a prolonged period of time."He believes the thieves posed as tradesmen and drove trucks or vans, so they could transport scaffolding or ladders to the site to gain access to the roof."This is an audacious incident and we're exploring a number of lines of enquiry to find out how this happened. Clearly this is unacceptable," he said.
About 20 tonnes of lead roof was stolen from the church
Houghton Conquest
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