A church near Northampton is facing a massive £24,000 bill to repair its roof after thieves stripped it of lead.
Police estimate between four and six people targeted Holy Cross, in Collingtree Road, Milton Malsor, removing more than 65 per cent of the metal from the roof.
Church warden Peter Heffron said the bill did not include the cost of an alarm, which would now have to be fitted.
At the moment, tarpaulin is being used to cover up the gaps, but some water is still getting in.
The church is facing a significant bill as its insurance policy only covers the first £5,000, and only one claim can be made in a 12-month period.
Adding an alarm will increase the level of cover, but only for the first £10,000 of damage.
Mr Heffron said: “It is absolutely huge. It has a huge financial impact. It also puts a massive dent in our growth projects which we are trying to do.
“This is an old church and we wanted to build a new toilet and store, which will cost £30,000.
“But they [the parishioners] are a very resilient, defiant lot, and they will carry on,” he added.
“I wonder if the people who did it realise the grief they have caused. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time of year.”
The theft happened some time overnight between Friday, October 26, and Saturday, October 27.
Anyone with any information should call Northamptonshire Police on 101.