Warning after lead stolen from historic Norfolk church

St Mary's Church in Beachamwell was targeted by lead thieves Picture: Google Maps

St Mary's Church in Beachamwell was targeted by lead thieves Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

Church leaders have been warned to be vigilant after lead was stolen from the roof of an internationally-renowned Norfolk building.

St Mary's Church in Beachamwell, near Swaffham, was twice targeted by thieves, who appear to have returned after being disturbed.

The Rev Ken Waters, the vicar, said: "All the lead on one side of the roof, on the aisle, was stolen. About half the lead was stolen on Tuesday , and it looks like they came back the following night for the rest.

"The church is right in the middle of the village, so you would think someone might have seen them. They also damaged the roof, but I don't know how badly yet. The insurers will be coming in to assess it.

"Nobody remembers anything happening like this before at the church. Beachamwell is not the easiest place to get in to, as the roads are one-track.

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"We will be putting a tarpaulin on the roof to make sure no water gets in, as there will be holes there, from taking the lead off.

"We had a wedding there on Saturday and a funeral on Tuesday, so we know it must have been after Tuesday.

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"Other churches need to be warned."

Peggy English, a member of the Friends of St Mary's church, said: "Everybody in the village works hard to raise money to keep the church open, and then this happens. We have raised about £10,000 to repair the thatched roof.

"It looks like the lead from the roof was cut out in sections.

"They took half on Tuesday night and then came back for the rest on Wednesday night. I think they might have been disturbed on the first night. This is a really important church and is over 1000 years old. It's got a round tower and a thatched roof."

The round tower is one of the earliest in Norfolk, and dates back to the early 11th century.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: "Police were called at 6pm on Wednesday to reports of lead being stolen from a building in Beachamwell. Witnesses or anyone with information should call Norfolk police on 101."

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