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Dramatic pictures show the damage caused to St Mary’s Church in Baconsthorpe, near Holt, after it was targeted by lead thieves

PUBLISHED: 15:37 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:37 02 May 2017

Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt

Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt

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A north Norfolk church has been targeted by lead thieves for the second time in about eight weeks.

Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt

St Mary’s Church in Baconsthorpe, near Holt, was raided between Wednesday, April 26 and Friday, April 28.

Police are linking it with another theft, at nearby St Mary The Virgin Church in Northrepps, where around 35 square metres of lead was stolen around the same time.

A Norfolk spokesman said: “Police were called on Friday to reports a quantity of lead had been removed from the roof of St Mary’s Church in Baconsthorpe, causing approximately £40,000 worth of damage.

Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt

“A lead lined window has also been taken before an untidy search of the vestry has been carried out.

“In addition, St Mary’s Church in Northrepps was targeted over the weekend with a quantity of lead taken from the roof.

“Police were called on Saturday, April 29 and the theft is believed to have taken place between 6pm on Friday and 10am on Saturday.

Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt

“Officers are linking these two incidents and are keen to speak to any witnesses or anyone with information.”

Corinne Youngs, the secretary of the Baconsthorpe parochial church council, said it was the second lead theft at their church in two months. She said: “We are totally devastated. It’s unbelievable.”

In March thieves stripped up to six tons of lead from the Baconsthorpe church. The culprits, possibly driving large vans or lorries, struck in the early hours of the morning on March 3.

Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Pat Cubitt

Lead was prized from the north aisle and a section of the south aisle of the church.

The theft occurred just hours before a funeral service was due to take place, leaving no time for a temporary covering to be put in place.

Last week, a warden hid inside St John the Baptist Church, on Church Street, Coltishall after hearing noises on the roof.

He called police, who arrested Ross Martin of St James Close in Norwich.

Martin admitted criminal damage, possession of a bladed article and attempting to steal lead, when he appeared before Norwich magistrates.

This newspaper and its sister publications have a campaign called ‘Stop The Roof Raiders’ which aims to raise awareness of this region-wide issue.

Anyone with information about the linked thefts should call Sgt Toby Gosden or PC Peter Davison at North Walsham police station on 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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