Members of a church have appealed for thieves to “come and talk” after lead was stripped from the roof.
A lead strip measuring more than 80ft (24m) was stolen from the roof of Ampfield Parish Church in Hampshire earlier this week.
Rev Victoria Ashdown told the thieves in a statement: “We would have loved to have helped you in your hour of need, rather than you stealing from us.”
Lead was removed from the entire roof ridge, leaving the nave exposed.
Hampshire Constabulary said it was investigating the theft, which is believed to have happened between Wednesday and Thursday.
‘Times are difficult’
Ms Ashdown said: “If you stole our lead – please get in touch. Most people don’t steal for fun, so we guess you aren’t in the best place right now.
“We will continue to pray for your salvation.
“We understand that times are difficult and everyone has to try and make a living, but turning to crime and stealing from a small church community is not the answer.”
She said insurers were assessing the damage, but it left the church with “considerable worry and a very large bill”.
The Grade II listed building was opened in 1841 and work to strengthen its octagonal spire was completed last year.
First published 26.07.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-49125965