WARDENS at a 180-year-old church in Catshill say the community has been left hurt after thieves caused several thousand pounds worth of damage in roof lead thefts.

Thieves have stolen lead from Christ Church three times in as many weeks.

The historic church, on Stourbridge Road, is already on Historic England’s Risk Register and faces an almighty task of finding around £250,000 to fix crumbling walls.

Devastated church wardens David Coulson and Pat Hackett say the latest setback has hurt the whole community, with repairs costing money they simply don’t have.

Mr Coulson said: “The insurance will cover some of it but it won’t cover it all.

Bromsgrove Advertiser:

(ABOVE: Church warden David Coulson holding some of the damage left by the thieves)

“It is money we cannot afford and money we were not accounting for.

“This is probably one of the oldest buildings in Catshill.

“We are 180 years old this December and we want to look after it for the next 180 years, but these crimes do not help.

“The church is here for the community and for somebody to attack it – it has hurt the whole community. Our reaction was sadness. Church members are quite upset and cross.”

The first raid took place overnight between 5pm and 9am on July 22, the second between the same hours on July 28, and the third between 5pm and 6pm on August 3.

At the last incident, ladders were found left at the scene.

Bromsgrove Advertiser:

(ABOVE: Some of the damage on the roof of the church)

Mr Coulson added: “It turned out it belonged to somebody nearby. They took their ladder and used it. We would urge people to place ladders where they cannot be used.”

The theft has not only left the church counting the cost of repairs, but also left them with holes in the roof, with buckets now put down to collect rainfall.

Mr Coulson, who said two other churches in Bromsgrove have been raided for lead in the past few months, said he hopes repairs can be carried out in the next few weeks.

Bromsgrove Advertiser:

(ABOVE: Church wardens David Coulson and Pat Hackett have had to put buckets down to collect water coming through the holes in the roof)

Bromsgrove Police sergeant David King added: “To steal from a church is a pretty low thing to do. We want people to be vigilant and if you do see something but can’t challenge them, give the police a call.”

Donations to help the church pay for repairs can be made to David Coulson, Christ Church, Stourbridge Road, Catshill, B61 29H, or at the church between Tuesday 10am to 12, and at Sunday service from 10am.