Blyth: Bungling thieves strip lead from church

Rev Kate Bottley with the lead stripped from the porch roof of St Mary and St Martin Church, Blyth
Rev Kate Bottley with the lead stripped from the porch roof of St Mary and St Martin Church, Blyth

Thieves have stripped lead from the roof of Blyth Church causing thousands of pounds of damage, only to run off without their loot.

On Sunday, the congregation at St Mary and St Michael Church in Blyth prayed for the people who had targeted their beloved church.

Blue tarpaulin covers the porch roof of St Mary and St Martin Church, Blyth, were thieves had stripped the roof of lead.

Blue tarpaulin covers the porch roof of St Mary and St Martin Church, Blyth, were thieves had stripped the roof of lead.

It is thought the attempted theft happened over night on Wednesday 4th September.

The Rev Kate Bottley, the vicar at the Grade I listed village church, St Mary and St Martin, discovered the crime scene on Thursday.

“I went up to the church for a wedding rehearsal and saw that they had stripped the porch roof, rolled the lead up and dumped it on the floor,” said Rev Bottley.

“I admit I had to count to ten when I realised what had happened.”

The lead was stripped from the roof of the ancient porch. Parts of the church date back almost 1,000 years.

But it seems the haul was too heavy for the bungling thieves to carry, so they legged it and left it behind.

Rev Bottley said it was the third time metal thieves had targeted the church in the last few years.

“We have taken as many precautions as we can with a Grade I listed building - Smart Water, outdoor lighting at night - but we have to use lead on the roof because of its status, and its value must be high at the moment,” she said.

“We estimate the damage has cost around £2,000.”

But the community has rallied round to make the roof water tight, and the vicar is taking a philosophical view.

She said: “I decided we should just pray for the people that did this, that their consciences will be pricked and they’ll do the right thing.”

“We prayed for them in church on Sunday. Of course it’s wrong and upsetting, and it’s our beautiful church - but it’s only a building and thankfully no-one has been hurt.”

Anyone with information should call Notts Police on 101.