Pulham St Mary Church faces bill of up to £100,000 as lead thieves strike again

Lead has been stolen from Pulham St Mary church. Picture: Clayton Hudson

Lead has been stolen from Pulham St Mary church. Picture: Clayton Hudson - Credit: Archant

A historic church is facing a bill of up to £100,000 after it became one of the latest victims of lead thieves who have become the scourge of our region.

Lead has been stolen from Pulham St Mary church. Picture: Clayton Hudson

Lead has been stolen from Pulham St Mary church. Picture: Clayton Hudson - Credit: Archant

Pulham St Mary Church, near Diss, had five tonnes of lead stolen after the culprits stripped the entire vestry roof and south aisle of the metal.

St John the Baptist in Bressingham, near Diss, has also been targeted – this brings the number of Norfolk church's hit by thieves to at least 14.

Pulham St Mary Church warden, John Taylor, said the grade I-listed building had CCTV but he did not have much hope for what the footage can provide.

He said: 'I feel so sad that a building that has been loved and used by a village for generations has suffered so much damage. The church is viewed by the village as being their church.'


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Furnishing in the vestry has been destroyed after rain water got through the tarpaulin covering the roof. Despite the amount damage caused, Mr Taylor has said services will go ahead as normal.

He said: 'We will not cancel a single service. Every service which we normally hold, we will hold.'

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The church warden of 10 years has said the church insurance for these types of thefts is capped at around £7,000.

He added: 'It will take a long time to fix. There is no quick fix. We will look at fundraising events and grants. We will look at every avenue.'

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South Norfolk Councillor Clayton Hudson, who is cabinet member for stronger communities and leisure portfolio, is calling for the government to help the churches. He said: 'Parishes have got to do their part. But something has to be done to discourage the thieves and help the parishioners get back on their feet.'

Mr Hudson's parish includes Pulham St Mary and he added that he thought it was 'shocking and particularly devastating' for the congregation.

As part of our Stop The Roof Raiders campaign, the EDP and its sister paper, the East Anglian Daily Times, are offering a reward of at least £26,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for targeting churches.

Det Con Andy Brown, Norfolk police's metal theft co-ordinator, said there has been an increased number of reported thefts.

He said: 'It is very difficult to establish if these thefts are being committed by the same people and at present we keep an open mind. We continue to monitor all lead thefts and continue to support our churches whilst building a picture on suspected offenders.

'We are actively working with the Norfolk diocese installing alarm systems and putting in place crime prevention measures.'

If you have any information about the Pulham St Mary Church lead theft, which is believed to have taken place during the early hours of October 29, or any lead theft, contact police on 101 or 07900407106.

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