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New measures to stop lead theft at Hampton church

LEAD thieves planning a return trip to strip more metal from a picturesque village church could get more than they bargained for.

LEAD thieves planning a return trip to strip more metal from a picturesque village church could get more than they bargained for.

A state-of-the-art burglar alarm has been installed to protect St Mary & St Bartholomew’s, Hampton-in-Arden, which was targeted under cover of darkness in March last year.

Infra-red beams now shine across the roof of the building - parts of which date from the 12th century.

A piercing siren will sound if a thief gets within a foot of the surface.

It’s hoped the security measures will act as a powerful deterrent to the crooks whose hauls may be worth only hundreds but leave repair bills running into the thousands.

Apart from the cost of replacing parts of the roof with stainless steel, last spring’s theft caused water to leak through and badly damage the Victorian organ below.

Efforts had been made to waterproof the loft with industrial grade polythene but these were ultimately unsuccessful in stopping the water from seeping through.

Although the instrument, dating from 1884, has continued to work, the soundboard was left in need of repairs totalling £7500.

The community has rallied round to cover the costs with the Fentham Trust agreeing to fund half the amount and Birmingham Airport donating £2500 to the cause.

 

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Cathrina Hulse
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