Thieves trample on child’s grave to steal lead from Little Paxton Church

THIEVES trampled on a child’s grave to steel lead tiles from the roof of St James’ Church, Little Paxton.

THIEVES trampled on a child’s grave to steel lead tiles from the roof of St James’ Church, Little Paxton.

Rev Annette Reed discovered the tiles were missing from the porch of the church on Thursday, January 19.

She believes the thieves were disturbed because a screwdriver was left on the grass beside the green wheelie bin used to climb onto the roof.

“I’ve been here five years and this is the second lead theft at Little Paxton Church,” Rev Reed told The Hunts Post.

“The amount of lead they took was worth about �30-�40 but the actual damage they caused was about �1,500.

“It’s such a shame because we are trying to raise funds to refurbish the interior of the church and have just re-hung our bells.”

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Cambridgeshire Police has launched a new county-wide crackdown on metal theft as the value of metal continues to soar, lead in particular fetching up to �1800 per tonne.

A dedicated team of detectives are working closely with other agencies, such as British Telecom, in Operation Gandolph which sees police take a hard line on thieves who target vulnerable locations.

Detective Inspector Donna Wass, who heads the operation, said:

“Those involved in metal theft range from people taking small amounts of metal to scrap yards by bicycle to those taking large amounts of mixed metals by lorry.

“Thieves often target isolated locations under cover of darkness so we would urge anyone who lives near a vulnerable site, such as a church, to be vigilant.”

Since January 2010, 30 cases of lead theft were reported in Huntingdon, 12 in St Neots, eight in St Ives and six in Ramsey.

Huntingdonshire Safer Neighbourhoods Manager, Mark Greenhalgh, added: “Our force-wide team is looking at metal theft.

“We make regular visits to scrap yards and check ledgers.

“We’re determined to make it hard for criminals to cash-in on the theft of metal, but unfortunately crime follows the rise in its value.”

St James’ Church is now seeking to alarm the premises, which means the added expense of �3,000 for a security system.

Rev Reed added: “A church is such a sacred place. I would ask other congregations to be very vigilant as thieves are obviously in the area.”