Roof raiders strike the same church, St Mary the Virgin Church in Carleton Forehoe, that was plundered 10 months ago
- Credit: Archant
Villagers are devastated after a historic church was hit by lead roof raiders for the second time within 10 months.
Thieves struck St Mary the Virgin Church in Carleton Forehoe, near Wymondham, between 11pm on Thursday, March 9 and 2am the following morning.
The culprits stole six strips of lead from the nave of the church, which is in a field off Barnham Broom Road.
Ivan Revell-Burrows, one of the church wardens, said he was 'shaken up' by the theft.
Mr Revell-Burrows said: 'I'm totally devastated. The whole community is. We had hardly got over the shock of the last one. This is like a double whammy.'
The crime follows a raid by up to 11 thieves overnight between May 30 and May 31 last year in which all the lead from the chancel and half the lead from the nave was taken. That raid also led to flood damage, leaving a repair bill of £30,000, which has risen to about £50,000 after the latest theft.
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After that raid, a gate for vehicles leading to the church was blocked with concrete barricades, but this time, the thieves cut through a section of hedge and fence to get their transport onto the property.
The remaining lead on the 14th century church is now being removed by contractors and temporary covering has been put in place.
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Mr Revell-Burrows said: 'We're working with the Rev Dr Tim Weatherstone, who has been working tirelessly, to seek permission to have the roof replaced with Terne steel, so we can avoid anything like this happening again.'
Despite the damage, the church still hosted a service on Sunday which Mr Revell-Burrows said was well attended.
Philip Richardson, lay chair of the Barnham Broom and Upper Yare group of churches, and his wife Anita, are planning to host a fundraising evening of music and food on Saturday, March 18 at 7.30pm. The event will take place at 16 Vicar Street and tickets are £10. Call 07713 638280 to book.
Donations to the appeal can be made directly to the church's bank account at Barclays Wymondham, account number 90774332, sort code 20-99-08.
As part of its Stop The Roof Raiders campaign,this newspaper and its sister publications are offering a reward of at least £26,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.