Copper thieves strike again at Hornchurch landmark

Audacious metal thieves have struck for a second time in as many weeks at a historical Hornchurch building.

The crooks stripped around 33 square metres of copper from the roof of St Andrews Church, in High Street, at the weekend, leaving bits of the roof “flapping in the wind” when Rev Barry Hobson arrived at the building on Monday.

A similar sized slab of copper was stolen from the Grade I listed landmark last weekend.

Rev Hobson said: “People are saddened and shocked to see the desecration and damage done to such a well-loved landmark.

“Many people get married in it so it’s special to a lot of people.”

It is thought the thieves accessed the roof from the graveyard, at the back of the church, under cover of night, before loading their haul into a truck parked by the Hornchurch cenotaph.

Specialist builders have patched the roof temporarily, but because of the church’s protected status full repairs will have to be like-for-like.

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The total damage could amount to as much as �4,000, although the church is covered by insurance.

Rev Hobson said he would look into improving outside security at the church which is currently only protected by floodlights until midnight.

A church has stood on the site for around 800 years.

Anyone with any information can call Havering Police on 0300 123 1212.

Such thefts have increased nationally as the price of metals rise.