The repair bill at a south Norfolk church could be as big as £100,000 after it was targeted by lead thieves.
Five tonnes of lead was stolen from the roof of the 12th Century Grade I listed Pulham St Mary Church at the end of October, which in turn caused water damage and left the vestry “completely wrecked, according to church warden John Taylor.
Mr Taylor, who has held the post for about 10 years, said CCTV was in place at the church and the lead was SmartWater protected, but two grant applications to provide an alarm had been turned down.
Church insurance for these sort of thefts is normally capped at about £7,500.
“I was bitterly disappointed that such a well-loved and used village church should have been treated in such a fashion,” he said.
“We will not cancel a single service.
It is a blow for the village, who view the church as their church and which is part of a living and working communityJohn Taylor, church warden
“It is a blow for the village, who view the church as their church and which is part of a living and working community.
“It is regrettable that our grant applications were not successful.”
“English Heritage guidelines are clear (on lead on roofs) and perhaps they need to reconsider those.”
South Norfolk District councillor and Pulham St Mary resident Clayton Hudson added: “Whether government funding or grants or loans, it is going to take parishioners a long time to repair roofs and these historic places of worship will deteriorate further.”
Churches in Hempnall, Topcroft, Newton Flotman, Bressingham and North Lopham have all been targeted in recent weeks.
The incident in Pulham St Mary is thought to have happened during the early hours of October 29. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.