THIEVES have taken advantage of the lockdown to steal the lead from a church roof.

They struck at Halstead’s United Reformed Church, in Kings Road, stripping lead from the building.

The church has been closed since the lockdown began and criminals took advantage of the opportunity to target the building.

Workmen carrying out renovations to the church noticed the crime and reported it to Essex Police on Tuesday.

The cost of the stolen lead and repair bill is not yet known, but the theft is likely to cost the church a significant sum, with repair work on the roof now having to be carried out.

The Rev Joshua Norris, pictured, said: “While replacing windows at the United Reformed Church, Greenglaze workmen discovered that lead had been stolen from the church roof.

“Some damage had been caused that required repair at some cost to the church.

“The police, upon being notified of theft, stated an officer would be investigating the matter by checking nearby CCTV opposite the church.

“The roofer came to the site to examine the damage.

“He believed the thieves may have been disturbed mid-job.”

Mr Norris added: “The theft comes as a nuisance to the church at a very difficult time worldwide.

“However we are thankful for the vigilance and expertise of local tradesmen who helped to discover and resolve the issue.”

Essex Police is investigating the incident and appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

A spokesman said: “We are investigating the theft and criminal damage and our enquiries are ongoing.

“Anyone with information is asked to call Braintree police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/86802/20.”

Alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website at