A newly restored church organ was badly damaged by rain after it was exposed to the elements when thieves stripped a village church roof of its lead.
The theft, which could end up costing the church of St Peter and St Paul in Harrington around £50,000, happened last Thursday or Friday night.
Parishioners discovered the theft on Saturday, when they realised huge sections of the church roof had been completely stripped of valuable lead, leaving the church and the church organ below exposed. Ann Wood, church warden, said she feared the church, which is Grade II listed and dates back to the 18th century, would never recover.
She said: “They have stripped the south end of the church, opposite the alter, and they went all the way along the west side of the church.
“They have just ripped slates all the way along the roof, they have knocked one of the coping stones down to the ground and then just to make sure they did enough damage they took the slates from the flat roof exposing the organ below. Then of course it poured with rain and so that has probably done a lot of damage to the organ as well.”
The organ had recently been restored, at a cost of around £10,000. Mrs Wood said she had no idea how the church will pay for all the damage. She added: “We just don’t know how we will ever get that money to be honest. The insurance only offers cover of up to around £10,000 a year and we have an organ and a roof to repair now.”