Last week metal thieves climbed on to the roof of Christ Church Woodhouse, in Sheepridge, and stripped the lead from the roof.

During the theft tiles have been removed from parts of the roof and officials fear any heavy rain will cause damage inside the building, which dates back to 1828. Emergency sheeting has been rigged up to protect the organ which sits directly below one of the areas of roof damage. Full roof repairs will be made when the extent of the roof damage can be inspected.

Church council member Alan Danielson said: “They have somehow managed to climb up to the highest point of the roof, removed some tiles and then taken off the lead, although in other parts they have left the lead there. Police think they may have been disturbed.

“We will be talking to the builders who are coming to do the repairs about finding an alternative. Many years ago when we had lead stolen, it was replaced by a plastic liner which is of no use to the thieves”