Rainwater causes thousands of pounds damage to church organ following metal theft in Hornchurch

�Hornchurch’s historic St Andrew’s Church was targeted by copper thieves for the NINTH time on Thursday.

But now they haven’t just damaged the roof, they have ruined the church organ.

The weekend before crooks had left the church with a �50,000 repair bill after stealing more metal.

The two recent thefts and wet weather meant water was able to damage the church walls, pews and organ.

The organ will be out of action for the biggest event of the year – the Remembrance Service on Sunday.

Chief church organist Andrew Losq said: “I am absolutely devastated by the damage caused.

The organ is almost 100 years old, and now it will be out of action for a year.

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“This has disabled the use of music in the church significantly and it will affect our Remembrance Day Service. We will have to use the piano instead.

“We use the organ for weddings, funerals, Christenings and music practise. It has been very distressing for the bride and groom of a wedding on Saturday but we will do the best we can given the circumstances.”

He said the water has got into the leather and woodwork which controls the organ.

The water has opened the pipes meaning when it is used 30 to 40 additional pipes sound, making it unplayable.

Mr Losq added the full damage can only be assessed in a couple of weeks when the organ has dried out completely.

It is likely to be out of action for the next year while fundraising and repairs take place.

Fundraising for its repair began at a Winter Market over the weekend and about �600 was generated.

A meeting was expected to take place yesterday (Thursday) to discuss fundraising and use of an alternative organ.