Historic Northamptonshire church left with no roof thanks to metal thieves

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A church serving a tiny parish which gets visitors and researchers calling from across the world has been left without a roof.

Metal thieves struck at the Church of St Mary in Fawsley on Friday night.

Box pews inside the church covered with plastic to keep the water off

Box pews inside the church covered with plastic to keep the water off

Sometime between 4.30pm on Friday, and 9.30am the following morning, copper was stripped from the roof of the building, which dates back to 1209.

Church treasurer Robin Baker said: “I went to open the church as normal. When I got inside I realised I could see the sky.

“Then it started raining really heavily. There was water just coming straight in.

“It was falling on the box pews, which we’ve had experts come to study, the organ got wet too. We were mopping the water up it was so bad. We managed to move most things under part of the roof that was aluminium which they left behind, and we also got someone to come out and put some plastic sheeting on the roof as a temporary measure.”

The stripped roof of the church, now covered in plastic

The stripped roof of the church, now covered in plastic

The estimated value for selling the copper is £500. The estimated cost of repairs and replacing the roof is £65,000, and to make matters worse insurers now cap their payouts for such thefts to £7,500.

Churchwarden Vivian Baker said: “It’s heartbreaking really.

“On Saturday morning a young French man working at the hotel came in to remember those involved in the Paris attacks, and instead he ended up putting plastic sheets over the pews.

“We are a small parish of just 32 people.

“But the church has a lot of weddings for people from all over, and we get lots of visitors due to the proximity of the hotel. We’re hoping some of them might help us pay for the repairs.”

Details on the church and its appeal for funds to pay for the repairs can be found on their Facebook page.