Police study CCTV after £5,000 raid on historic Colne church

Rev. Tony Rindl of St. Bartholomew's Church in Colne is pictured with Steve Burke (architect), Harry Walker (building contractor), Michael Warner and Nan Blenkinsop (church wardens) who assess the damage done by thieves. G260511/1c
Rev. Tony Rindl of St. Bartholomew's Church in Colne is pictured with Steve Burke (architect), Harry Walker (building contractor), Michael Warner and Nan Blenkinsop (church wardens) who assess the damage done by thieves. G260511/1c

A COLNE vicar has made a plea to thieves who have repeatedly targeted his church to stay away, as he is left with a repair bill amounting to thousands of pounds.

Metal thieves have returned to St Bartholomew’s Church for the fifth time in the space of a few months, stripping the church roof of lead.

The Rev. Tony Rindl says parishioners have been left devastated by this latest incident, as the church faces a bill of £5,000 to repair the damage caused to the Grade 1 listed building.

He said: “This latest incident has been by far the worst. Each time the thieves have left us with repairs for over £1,000. This time though they have taken such a lot, re-slating the roof and replacing the boarding will cost £5,000.”

Mr Rindl has appealed to the public to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity at the church to the police.

He said: “We are in a very prominent place in the town centre on the main road so someone must see something or know something about what has been going on.”

The latest theft happened at the 890-year-old building in Church Street overnight on May 20th.

Mr Rindl said he believes the thieves are targeting the church between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. when the main street is quiet, using ladders to climb onto a low part of the roof at the front of the building.

They are then thought to be carrying their load to the side of the church, dropping it over the fence into a vehicle on a side street.

He said: “These incidents are causing great distress to members of the church and an enormous amount of inconvenience as we have to employ specialists to do the building work. I would like to express my thanks to the church wardens who have given up their time to sort it all out.”

Police are looking at CCTV footage taken from the area at the time of the latest theft. Anyone with information about the incident should contact Colne Neighbourhood Policing Team on 472441.