Historic Hornchurch church targeted by copper-metal thieves eighth time

Thieves have targeted a Hornchurch church for the seventh time this year stealing �15,000 worth of copper.

St Andrew’s Church, in High Street, has been repeatedly targeted by copper metal thieves since the beginning of the summer.

The latest was between Saturday night and Sunday morning when copper was stripped from the church roof.

Rev Barry Hobson said: “I came out on Sunday afternoon to find a substantial amount of copper had been ripped from the roof. It must have happened on the Saturday evening.

“I am angry and upset that this has happened again. It will cost us about �50,000 to replace the copper (and repair the damage), but we haven’t got that kind of money, so we will have to repair the roof.

“It is the seventh time this year, and it is full on. We had totally repaired the roof.”

In June The Recorder reported that Rev Hobson and his parishioners were taking it in turns to sleep in the church to protect it.

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Crooks caused an estimated �20,000-worth of damage to the 800-year-old Grade I listed building, which needed specialist materials for repair work.

When they found thieves stealing from the roof in June they called the police who swooped on the church to arrest one of the men.

Rev Hobson said the Rhodesian copper has been at the church since the middle of the 19th century and has survived a couple of bombs during the Second World War.

In April thieves stripped about 33 squares metres of copper from the roof. A similar amount was stolen from the well-loved historical landmark the weekend before. Such thefts have increased nationally as the price of metals rise.

Police are looking for any witnesses to the latest theft to come forward with information. You can contact Havering police by calling 101.