Vandal thieves will cost Birstall church thousands

The roof at St Peters in Birstall.
The roof at St Peters in Birstall.

The vicar of a Birstall church with origins going back as far as the twelfth century has expressed his sadness after it was targeted by thieves.

Paul Knight, who has lead St Peters church for over 20 years, says the cost of damage to the building’s roof will run into the thousands after youths stole lead last week.

St peters Church, Birstall.

St peters Church, Birstall.

“It’s very saddening,” he said, “you can see from the response we’ve received on social media that there is a lot of anger out there because of what’s happened, which is obviously understandable. There’s been an incredible number of views and comments on there.”

A similar incident took place at St Patrick’s School last week and it follows months of issues with youths breaking into business premises.

“This sort of thing is happening a lot in Birstall at the moment and there’s a resignation towards it going on, sadly.

“The CCTV footage we’ve managed to get from neighbours shows that these are a group of youths.

“It’s clear to me that unless something happens to change their course of life soon they are on track for a life of crime and prison, which is desperately sad.”

The lead was recovered when it was discarded in a neighbour’s wheelie bin, itself reported stolen at the same time as the damage to the church.

“Nobody has gained from this,” Paul said, “all it will do is add a cost to us and our insurers.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting crime reference 13180650163.”