Church officials in Winwick have applied for planning permission to replace large areas of lead stolen from the roof with stainless steel.

Thieves stripped thousands of pounds worth of lead from the south aisle and both sides of the lady chapel at the Grade II*-listed All Saints Church, in Winwick, in November last year.

The attack came just days after work to repair the damage caused by another theft had started and the incident, the third theft since 2011, prompted an angry reaction from church officials.

This week, parishioners applied to Huntingdonshire District Council for planning permission to install terne-coated stainless steel panels in place of the lead - which is expensive and more likely to be a target for thieves again.

Church officials told planners: "The oldest part of the church dates from the 11th century and is an asset of community value, which should be allowed to continue to function rather than deteriorate and cease to benefit the village."

The steel panels would be coated in Smart Water, which means they could be traced and recovered should they be stolen in the future.

In consultation with the council, Historic England said: "We acknowledge that some churches are more vulnerable than others and could face particular problems with repeated theft.

"This is certainly the case at All Saints Church which, although it is prominently located adjacent a main road, has suffered three significant lead thefts.

"In light of these factors, we would not oppose the change of materials in principle."