BUSINESSES and churches are being warned to be on the lookout for metal thieves following the theft of lead from church roofs in Godmanchester and Swavesey last week.

The Godmanchester theft was noticed when a rainstorm began during last Thursday morning's communion service in St Mary's Church, and water started pouring into the chancel.

Churchwarden Jean Morgan, who had been away at the time, told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday): "The thieves climbed up the boiler flue and took a lot of the lead from the chancel. They tried to get some off the south porch as well."

She said the church council did not yet know how much it would cost to repair the damage.

A police spokesman said the constabulary had not noticed a particular increase in lead thefts recently although lead had also been stolen from St Andrew's Church, in Station Road, Swavesey, between 8pm on August 21 and 8am on August 22.

He added: "However, metal theft is an ongoing problem due to the high price of scrap metal. We would urge businesses and churches to consider options such as SmartWater to deter thieves."