£100,000 metal roof raid bill for church

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A CHURCH is facing a £100,000 bill after thieves stole £50 of copper from its roof.

That is the cost of replacing the roof at St John the Evangelist at Thornton where the work is the only answer to deterring criminals.

The church has been recommended to use stainless steel for the mammoth job after thieves raided the church for a second time, tearing off strips of copper which has soared in price in recent years.

Colin Noble, of the church council, said: “There is a minority who don’t seem to have any moral responsibility.

“They don’t seem to regard theft as being wrong and they don’t realise that their actions are going to seriously hurt other people.

“If they are really in desperate need, all they have to do is come to us and say they need help and in the Christian spirit we will help them.”

He added: “Stainless steel has been recommended by the Diocesan Advisory Committee. We are now awaiting permission from them to go ahead but it’s a massive amount to raise for a church like ours.

“It’s going to be a big, big struggle. The church is in the stewardship of the congregation and the people of Little Thornton – the church is theirs.

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“They are responsible for the ownership and upkeep.

“We are a very active church. We put on a lot of concerts to raise money. We have already been asking for donations and asking for people to donate old jewellery which we have sold.

“We will have the begging bowl out wherever we can.

“Our church is very healthy in terms of the number of people who attend. But having to produce that amount of money means we can’t use that money for other things in the community.

“We have managed to repair damage from a previous theft with felt but it’s only a temporary repair and we can’t go on doing that all over the place.”

Last year Trinity Methodist Church in Fleetwood had a similar headache and replaced its copper roof with glass fibre at a cost of £20,000. Part of their fund-raising effort included obtaining loans from other churches.

The Thornton raid was between 1.30pm on June 16 and 3pm on June 19.

A police spokeswoman said: “We are investigating this incident and are continuing to seek information.”

Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.