‘It is a shame churches have got to become like prisons’

The White Church, Fairhaven
The White Church, Fairhaven

A minister has today told of his frustration after thieves targeted an historic Fylde coast church and stole lead worth thousands of pounds.

Three pieces of lead – each one 20ft by 20ft – were taken from the roof of the White Church, in Fairhaven, under cover of darkness.

Minister David Phillips told The Gazette he believes the thieves may have meticulously planned the raid.

“You can’t actually see any lead from the ground,” he said.

“But with it being quite a historic building there are lots of photos of it on the internet – I think they researched it.”

He also believes the timing of the raid, overnight on November 5, was planned.

He added: “It seemed to happen under the cover of Bonfire Night, with all the noises and bangs.

“It is a nuisance, having spent hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years restoring the church, and I hope they get what’s coming to them.

“But it is an impetus to do what we have to do – put security measures in place.

“It is a shame churches have got to become like prisons but we have got to defend ourselves against thieves.”

A team of builders worked quickly following the theft to ensure the church roof was watertight.

The stolen lead will now be replaced with fibreglass, which already covers the grade II-listed building’s dome.

Police believe the theft occurred at the church, on Clifton Drive, between 9pm on November 5 and 9am the following day.

PC Louisa Lucas, of Blackpool Police, said: “This church is well known and in a high traffic area and I am appealing to anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area around this time, or anyone who may have any information about these thefts to contact us.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101.