Thieves strike again at Greasley church

NEAALM110504D3 - St. Mary's church Greasley. Rev Dave Marvin
NEAALM110504D3 - St. Mary's church Greasley. Rev Dave Marvin

A VICAR has said he may have to get CCTV installed at the cost of thousands of pounds after thieves struck again at St Mary’s Church in Greasley.

Rev Dave Marvin issued the warning after copper piping was stolen – just months after lead was taken from the roof leaving the congregation with up to £70,000 worth of repairs.

This time thieves stole 15 metres of gas piping from the outside of the church weeks after also taking lead from a drain, following an initial raid where the entire roof was stripped.

Rev Dave Marvin said it ‘came as a blow’ when the congregation was already busy working hard to raise money to repair the other damage.

“These incidents have had a massive impact on the church and on the congregation,” he said. “It came as a bit of a blow when we are already working hard to replace the roof.”

The ladies who run the tea room discovered the missing copper, worth about £200, and rang Rev Marvin to tell him.

The thieves switched the gas off before they took the pipes, in case there was a spark.

Rev Marvin said: “It’s incredible the lengths they are willing to go to. The piece of lead they took from the drain must have only been worth £1.”

Lead was stolen from the church roof last July leaving the congregation to raise £30,000 to replace it, and a further £30,000 to repair damage caused to the internal walls from rain getting in.

Thieves returned last month and stole a further foot of lead from an outside drain and then stole the copper piping a couple of weeks later.

Rev Marvin said he thought it was probably the same people targeting the church.

The congregation have been holding tabletop sales, doing sponsored diets, selling cakes and holding charity concerts to raise the cash. They also put the proceeds made at a Royal wedding party last Friday towards the church fund.

Rev Marvin said: “It’s created quite a community spirit. That’s the upside to it if there is one! People really want to do something about it and help.

“The children have been excellent. I gave every member £1 for them to make a profit with and one five-year-old boy bought some car wash fluid and made £210 washing cars!”