Lead theft from Ampfield Parish Church

24m of lead was ripped from the roof of St Mark Ampfield over the night of 24 July. The ridge-line of the entire nave and chancel has been wrecked. This historic building lies exposed to the risk of massive damage in the event of storms.

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If you stole our lead – please get in touch. Most people don’t steal for fun, so we guess you aren’t in the best place right now. To help any others sizing up our churches: there isn’t enough lead left to make the risk of injury or conviction worthwhile.

“St Mark has a reputation of hospitality and generosity, which we freely give to all those in need. We would have loved to have helped you in your hour of need, rather than you stealing from us. We will continue to pray for your salvation.” … “We understand that times are difficult and everyone has to try and make a living, but turning to crime and stealing from a small church community is not the answer, notwithstanding the very real threat of serious harm climbing on a very precarious church roof!“

Vicar: Revd Victoria Ashdown speaking after the theft.

If you have information you’d like to share with the police please ring 101 and quote INC-20190725-0028

As a direct result of Austerity imposed by the Conservative Government, Test Valley Council now have no resources to assist in crime or anti-social behaviour prevention. Like Hampshire County Council we have had to make redundant wardens or Accredited Community Safety Officers who were active in communities and helped prevent this sort of deplorable crime. While our local police work incredibly hard: objectively we have very little policing in the Test Valley and officer numbers are very low. None of this excuses thieving from churches: which can only be described as deplorable.

Councillor Alan Dowden in an email after the theft.

Falls from height, are all too common. The roofs of our churches are high enough that victims are likely to suffer serious injury or death. Life with an acquired brain injury, spinal injury, comes with a list of unpleasant side effects: incontinence, paralysis, impotence, and impaired or absent speech. Please don’t risk your whole life and future for a few pounds.

In this group of churches we work with people having a tricky time without fuss, run lunch clubs for people who get isolated, feed hungry children during holiday time, run craft groups that build community for children and adults and help our food bank, last year providing 5% of the food collected

Like most parish churches our work is completely funded by the donations of our small church community. St Mark has a good mix of age, but this damage represents real theft from people’s wallets.

Our amazing specialist historic structures builder is here effecting some temporary repairs to try to keep the roof weather tight in the face of expected thunderstorms over the next few days. The Met Office warning for severe thunderstorms begins just west of Ampfield

The damage has been reported to our insurers and loss adjusters are on their way to inspect the damage. We follow all our insurers security advice and hope they will pay the claim. However it’s likely our congregation will have to meet substantial costs.

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