In the last year many homes and businesses in Wakefield have been targeted by crooks on the prowl for valuable metal. Several buildings have suffered thousands of pounds worth of damage as thieves have stripped them of copper and lead tiles and flashing.

The theft of lead and other metal from roofs has become a huge problem in recent years due to the rising value of metal worldwide. Churches are among the most popular targets for thieves, however, the crime is a growing problem in Wakefield with roofs of homes, restaurants and public buildings also being targeted.

Police said metal and lead theft from buildings was an increasing problem across the county and that criminals are targeting roofs of unoccupied properties that are either being renovated or are up for let. In a lot of cases pipes are being ripped out and lead flashings removed from roofing which are then sold on for scrap.

A police spokesman said: "Landlords are being urged to make unoccupied properties as secure as possible, to make them look occupied with light timer switches and to check them on a regular basis”.

“It is important that residents keep their eyes and ears open and report any suspicious behaviour especially around public buildings such as churches and community centres.”