Village hall stripped of lead before thieves get spooked by cameras

PUBLISHED: 07:05 24 April 2019

The theft took place on April 15-16 in Portbury. Picture: Mike Phipps

The theft took place on April 15-16 in Portbury. Picture: Mike Phipps

Mike Phipps

Thieves clambered on to a village hall's roof to steal lead in a 'premeditated' raid.

Portbury Village Hall, in High Street, was targeted in an overnight raid by criminals last week.

The damage was discovered on April 16 and it is believed the theft happened the night before.

Mike Phipps, chairman of Portbury Parish Council, is hopeful the police will be able to catch those responsible for the criminal act.

He said: “We think this was premeditated as they gathered three wheelie bins to carry away the spoils – a lot of lead.”

However, the village's security surveillance could provide vital clues, Cllr Phipps hopes.

He said: “We think they realised, while making their getaway, that they might get caught by our CCTV camera on Portbury Footbridge, so they dumped the bins and ran.”

There is a security camera at the hall too, and its footage is being analysed.

However, to improve security yet further, better lighting is going to be installed at the hall to deter future criminal endeavours.

Lead can be a valuable commodity as a scrap metal, but Cllr Phipps told the Times the cost to the hall far outstrips what cash the thieves could have made.

He said: “The scrap value of the lead isn't that much, less than £200, but the damage done to our hall will cost in the order of £3,000.

“Given our surplus each year is only about £2,000 you can see what a blow this is, although hopefully most of it will be covered by insurance.”

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