Roof raiders try to take lead from St Peter Church in Ringland near Norwich for the second time in five weeks

St Peter Church in Ringland, near Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

St Peter Church in Ringland, near Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Thieves have tried to steal lead from the roof of a village church near Norwich for second time in five weeks.

St Peter Church in Ringland, near Norwich, covered by snow in 2013. Picture: Terry Buxton, citizensi

St Peter Church in Ringland, near Norwich, covered by snow in 2013. Picture: Terry Buxton, citizenside.com - Credit: citizenside.com

But the culprits fled on foot from St Peter Church in Ringland, north-west of the city, after the alarm went off.

Rev Paul Seabrook said the incident happened sometime in the evening of Monday, January 9, just five weeks after a similar attempted theft.

Rev Seabrook said: 'They attempted to get through the alarm system and take the lead. Thankfully no lead was taken this time but we are really concerned because it's very vulnerable.

'Thankfully we've got a very good alarm system and the folks around the church are very vigilant.'

Rev Seabrook said the alarm had also scared off the culprits on the previous attempt.

He said St Peter dated from 1318 and featured a magnificent carved ceiling.

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Rev Seabrook said it would be a tragedy if the lead was ever stolen.

He said: 'If we were to lose the lead it would jeopardise the ceiling. We might not be able to continue using the church - it would be that drastic.'

Rev Seabrook said the church hosted three or four services a month.

He said: 'It's a well-used church and a well-loved church because it's got a very special atmosphere.'

Rev Seabrook said they were now looking at how to further improve the alarm system to protect the church better.

He said: 'We are keeping a close eye on it.'

Lead thefts continue to plague church communities across East Anglia.

In November, Pulham St Mary Church near Diss was hit by thieves who stripped the entire vestry and south aisle roof.

The theft left the church with a £100,000 repair bill.

And about £10,000 worth of lead was taken from St Margaret's Church in Hempnall, near Long Stratton, in the same month.

The Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and their sisters papers across the region launched a Stop the Roof Raiders campaign in December 2015 to stop the thieves, and putting up a bounty to help persuade people to come forward and help bring this devastating crime to an end.

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