Metal thieves target Rainham vicarage while rev was inside

Audacious metal thieves targeted a Rainham minister’s roof while he was at home, causing an estimated thousands of pounds worth of damage.

A large section of lead was stripped from the vicarage at St John’s and St Matthew’s Church, in South End Road, by cruel crooks, on Monday evening (October 3).

“We heard a noise late at night and thought it was just cats,” said Rev Tony Burford. “The thieves got away with at least a �1000 worth of lead, without taking into account what it is going to cost to repair - which can well be in the thousands.”

Rev Burford, who has been in his post since July 24, said he would be beefing up security at the church and its buildings, including installation of CCTV, lighting, and anti-climb deterrents.

Rev Burford added: “I feel shocked that thieves could be targeting the church and the vicarage where I live. Nobody saw or heard anything because we surveyed our neighbours.”

Two months ago the church hall was also damaged by thieves, who were disturbed by a neighbour as they ripped a 10ft slab of lead from the roof.

A church official said: “They ran like gazelles, and they managed to run off with what they could carry.”

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The damage then was around �200-300, and will be repaired using uPVC.

If anyone would like to donate to the repairs please contact the church office on: 01708 555260

Anyone with information on the thefts should contact Romford Police Station on: 101

There has been a huge increase in lead and copper thefts nationally as metal prices rise.