Lead stolen from Merrivale Model village hospital

THIEVES clambered over a high wall and barbed wire to steal the roof from a mini hospital at a Great Yarmouth model village - and pocketed less than �50 worth of lead for their efforts.

Merrivale Model Village on Marine Parade was hit by the theft, described as 'bizarre and sad', between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

It has resulted in a nine feet long hospital needing a new roof, which may cost as much as �1,800 for the insurance company to replace if they decide it needs to be made from carbon fibre.

Peter Williamson runs the village, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and described his amazement at the crime and his fears at what it could mean for the town's image.

He said: 'When I found out on Tuesday morning there was almost a sense of disbelief that someone could scale an eight foot wall and get through five feet of barbed wire for such a small amount of lead and risk so much in the process.

'It's disconcerting that it's reached the level that now they're stealing for such small amounts of money and those involved don't realise the impact they're having on costs and visitor's experience of the town.

'Great Yarmouth is really on the up but if holidaymakers hear about this kind of thing they start to worry about the town, even if that worry is unjustified.'

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The hospital was bought seven years ago and has since gone down well with visitors, with a minute surgery scene within proving particularly popular.

Whether a lead or carbon fibre roof is installed, insurance premiums will go up and it is likely the hospital will have to retain its temporary felt roof for at least a month.

To up security, CCTV in the area has now been increased in response to the theft.

Mr Williamson said the maintenance men and gardeners who spent their working lives tending to the village were 'devastated,' by the loss but added: 'We're not going to be beaten, but though we've had one or two thefts before this is the most bizarre and saddest.'

A police spokesman said: 'An incident took place at Merrivale Model Village, Marine Parade, between 6pm on Monday 18 April and 8.50am on Tuesday 19 April, where unknown offender/s stole a quantity of lead.'

'Anyone with information relating to the incident, or who may have seen anything suspicious in the area between the times stated, is asked to contact South Yarmouth Safer Neighbourhood Team.'

To contact the team, call 0845 456 4567 or go to southyarmouthsnt@norfolk.pnn.police.uk.

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