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Lead thieves strike at Woodbridge Library and St Andrew’s Church, Melton

PUBLISHED: 19:56 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 19:56 06 November 2017

Lead was stolen from the roof of Woodbridge Library. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Lead was stolen from the roof of Woodbridge Library. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Communities in east Suffolk have been urged to remain vigilant after lead thieves struck at two prominent buildings in recent weeks.

Thieves also struck at St Andrew's Church in Melton. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY Thieves also struck at St Andrew's Church in Melton. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Lead roofing was stolen from Woodbridge Library at some point in the past fortnight, while St Andrew’s Church in nearby Melton was targeted overnight on Friday, November 3.

Suffolk police are appealing for witnesses to either of the thefts and advising people to take appropriate measures to deter the offenders.

Sgt Brian Calver of the Rural Crime Team said: “Communities can act as our eyes and ears, and by making a note of any suspicious activity of people or vehicles we can deter thieves.

“Don’t ignore anything that you think looks out of place - report anything you think may be suspicious to the police.

“I would also urge scrap dealers to report any attempts at lead disposal to us, as the lead from church roofs is often marked with smart water and so we can easily identify where it’s come from.”

Police are advising owners and staff at buildings that are vulnerable to lead thieves to be alert to the dangers.

Recommendations include checking roofs regularly for missing lead, regularly reviewing perimeter fencing and gate security and installing outside lighting on “dusk till dawn” sensors.

Vehicle access should be restricted to vulnerable properties, wherever possible, and vegetation should be cut back to improve visibility.

Police also advise people use anti-climb paint or physical barriers to prevent access, though anti-climb devices must be clearly signposted to comply with regulations.

Other suggestions include encouraging neighbours to be vigilant, installing CCTV or intruder alarms and using a “forensic solution” to mark lead, again displaying the appropriate warning signs.

“Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately,” a police spokesman added. “Stealing a large amount of lead takes time and a reasonably large vehicle to transport it, so any early reports will assist police in locating the offenders.”

People should call police on 101 or 999 if a crime is thought to be in progress. Witnesses to the recent thefts around Woodbridge the should call the safer neighbourhood team on 101, quoting incident number 251 or 279 of Saturday, November 4.

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