Lead thieves strip school roofs bare

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A SCHOOL got off to a soggy start after returning from the Christmas break to find thieves had stolen tens of thousands of pounds worth of lead from their roofs.

Staff at Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth became concerned on Thursday morning when water began leaking into the sports hall.

On closer inspection it was discovered that the lead flashing that helps pin down the felt of the flat-roof building had been removed.

They then found that the lead had been taken from all of the main buildings.

Headteacher at Anthony Gell, Dave Baker, condemned the thieves.

He said: “Clearly somebody has been up on the roof and pulled it all off.

“We first noticed it this morning when the sports hall started taking in water.

“It makes you very angry because it’s not just the cost of it all when funding is already tight, but it’s the amount of work and the possible damage done in the mean time.

“It’s not just the lead, but the knock-on effect.

“It’s worth a lot of money. We will have to put in an insurance claim but there is always an excess to pay.

“But our local police have been fantastic, we phoned them and they were here in 20 minutes.”

Mr Barker said that they are busy checking CCTV footage in a bid to trace the culprits.

It is most likely that the lead will have been sold off for scrap.

Incidents of lead theft, mainly from churches, have been on the increase again across Britain in recent years as the value of the metal continues to increase.

It is estimated that a tonne of lead could fetch up to £1,800.

Speaking about recent theft, Pc Doug Eyre, of Wirksworth Police, said: “We are talking thousands of pounds, maybe even tens of thousands of pounds.

“It’s like stealing from the school funds, because that is what is will cost to replace it.

“We are now hoping to trace this lead.”

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.