Theft hit church steps up security

Churchwarden Clive Barnes shows damage caused by lead being taken from roof at St Cuthbert's Church Lytham.
Churchwarden Clive Barnes shows damage caused by lead being taken from roof at St Cuthbert's Church Lytham.

A PARISH church is stepping up security at a cost of thousands of pounds in a bid to beat the thieves and vandals.

St Cuthberts, Church Road, Lytham, has been targeted by lead thieves, causing water to leak in, which could have been devastating.

Acting church warden Clive Barnes said: “They came in May and July. They’ve taken lead from the roof and water has seeped in. It’s disheartening. It will put our insurance premiums up. We will have to find several thousand pounds to pay for security. That money should be used to help people and keep the church doors open.”

Mr Barnes said the church would “SmartWater and anti-climb vandal paint everything”, plus install a heat and movement-seeking state-of-the-art laser on the roof.

Church officials are determined to protect the listed building – including the cherished £100,000 organ inside.

“That lots going to cost us about £4,000, but with a building like we have, which is such a valuable listed building, and because of the special organ in there, we can’t take any chances,” said Mr Barnes.

Fortunately the organ was not damaged as a result of the theft.

Firefighters were called in, though, when it was discovered protective sheeting in the roof above the organ was holding “thousands of gallons of water”.

Police said the number of scrap metal thefts in Blackpool and Fylde has trebled in the last year – from 109 in April and March 2009 to 323 during the same period this year.