Village church struck by thieves and vandals

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Thieves have targeted an ancient village church, stealing lead from the roof and causing irreparable damage to gravestones dating back to the 17th century.

St Anne’s Church in Woodplumpton is the latest local church to suffer at the hands of metal thieves, who have torn up the roof and thrown large rocks into the churchyard below.

The Rev Brian Whitley surveys damage to the roof and surrounding gravestones after thieves stole lead from the roof of St Anne's Church in Woodplumpton

The Rev Brian Whitley surveys damage to the roof and surrounding gravestones after thieves stole lead from the roof of St Anne's Church in Woodplumpton

The raiders were captured on CCTV, set up to monitor the comings and goings of the churchyard, which also houses the grave of the village ‘witch’.

Rev Brian Whitley said: “They have caused a considerable amount of damage and we will have to fund raise for the repairs.

“You can see them quite clearly on the CCTV. They are trying to pull their hoods down over their faces. You can see them fold the lead up and head towards the gates.

“There is quite a lot of damage to the stonework and the roof. One of the gravestones has stood there for 300 years and now it has been smashed. There is no way it can be replaced.”

The matter has been reported to Lancashire Police who are investigating. Anyone with information about the matter is asked to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.