Historic roofing stolen from medieval Nottingham church

Historic lead roofing panels have been stolen from a medieval Nottingham church.

Thieves broke into St Martin's Church at Bilborough on Wednesday night. It was the third attack on the church in three weeks.

Two thirds of the lead, which is worth thousands of pounds as scrap, has now been stolen.

The lead dates back to the Victorian era and has distinctive plumbers' marks - hand and footprints, names and dates.

'Historically important'

Members of the congregation said they were deeply upset.

"In the first two attacks lead was taken from the outside of the church, which is bad enough," said church warden Hilary Wheat.

"This time the thieves have broken into the church and seriously damaged the medieval church door as they tried to get in."

The thieves did not manage to get through the 600-year-old door but gained access by breaking through a fire exit.

Image caption The Victorian-era lead roofing was imprinted with both hand and footprints, names and dates

A significant amount of rolled up lead, which had been removed from the church tower as it undergoes £98,000 of restoration work, was taken.

"The plan was to remove the lead from the tower, record all the details, restore some of the pieces and display them in the church," said Ms Wheat.

"This is historically important for the church."

The church warden said the government should register scrap dealers.

"At the moment we feel like we have no way of combating this. Not all churches can afford CCTV."

The church council said it was not sure whether the lead would be replaced.

Nottinghamshire Police said it was investigating the theft.

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