Up to �50,000 worth of lead stolen from Willesden church

Father David Clues said he is devastated at the theft at St. Mary’s church

Thieves have stolen lead from a church roof just days before Easter – causing up to �50,000 worth of damage.

Cllr Rev David Clues discovered the theft at St Mary’s church, in Neasden Lane, Willesden, last Wednesday as he was preparing for his Easter sermons.

He climbed on top of the roof to find its tiles ripped off and it stripped of its 40 ft long lead valley gutter, and half a dozen lead vents.

Rev Clues, who is also a Lib Dem councillor for Dudden Hill, said: “It is an absolute nightmare. We have been praying that the weather holds because the first drop of rain and we are in trouble.

“The cost is going to be astronomical. For this to happen just before Easter is gutting, really gutting.

“People need to know that this is happening, at least then it might act as a deterrent.”

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He believes the church, which was built in 938, was plundered at night when nobody was around to disturb the thieves.

It follows similar thefts at St Andrew’s Church in Church Lane, Kingsbury, which has been struck twice, and the Ascension Church in The Avenue, Wembley, sparking fears that churches are seen as soft targets.

Rev Clues said the theft was more devastating because the roof had only recently been repaired after the congregation spent months collecting some �120,000 for the essential work. Rev Clues said: “St. Mary’s is very much a community church and people round here really busted a gut to raise the money to refurbish the roof, and they have been set back by this act of vandalism.

“It is a real kick in the teeth to those people who dedicated their time to fundraise. Now we are back to square one. It is devastating for parishes like us.”

This is the second time St. Mary’s has been targeted by metal thieves in the nine years Father Clues has been at the church.

Ecclesiastical Insurance said so far this year it had 300 metal related claims registered with them, totalling nearly �600,000.