Vandalised church considers installing CCTV

| April 30, 2010

A GUILDFORD church is considering the installation of CCTV cameras after being repeatedly targeted by lead thieves or vandals smashing valuable windows.

The latest incident at St Francis’ Church in Beckingham Road, Westborough, was discovered on Sunday when regular churchgoers arrived for their morning service.

They discovered that vandals had removed a gatepost from the entrance to the grounds and used it to smash five leaded windows and one stained glass window, causing around £1,000 of damage.

It came just one week after the second lead theft at the church to have taken place within a month.

The first was discovered on March 23 when staff arrived in the morning and found that a chunk of lead measuring around 6ft by 2ft had been stolen from the roof above the entrance to the church hall.

This was replaced, only for the new lead to be stolen around three-and-a-half weeks later during the evening of April 18.

Now, much to the dismay of the congregation, the church has been targeted by the gatepost-wielding offender.

The Rev Stefanie Hodges said: “It does grieve me somewhat. We are a small parish church trying hard to survive.

"When people do this sort of thing, they’re not just hurting the congregation who struggle to pay for the insurance, they are hurting the community because that’s what the church is here for.”

So far the church has had to pay insurance excess costs of £100 each time for the lead thefts.

It is not yet known how much it must pay to fix the windows, which have now been boarded up.

Rev Hodges said: “It’s even worse this time. We came in on Sunday morning and found that the windows had been smashed in.

“It’s completely mindless, I’m incredibly sad that somebody could do it.

"You can almost understand somebody nicking lead, because there’s some sort of gain but this is completely senseless, nobody gains at all from it.”

The vandalism at the church is believed to have taken place between 4pm on Saturday, April 24 and 9am on Sunday, April 25.

A spokesman for Surrey Police said: “The neighbourhood team has been made aware and the investigation remains ongoing.”

Anyone who thinks they may have information about the lead thefts and smashed windows at St Francis’ Church can call Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting reference GD/10/4009.

 

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2070351_vandalised_church_considers_installing_cctv

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Category: Church Security

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