Thieves have stripped the lead from a Mirfield church’s roof, plunging the parish into financial crisis.
Rainwater poured into the north side of St Paul’s Church in Eastthorpe this week after guttering was stolen.
The damage disrupted midweek services and a planned concert had to be held elsewhere.
The Rev Hugh Baker revealed that after four major thefts in just five years, Mirfield Team Parish was struggling to cope with the financial demand of repairs.
He said: “It is early days, so we don’t know how much it will end up costing, but just to make the roof temporarily watertight will cost hundreds of pounds.
“I have been here for five years, and this is the fourth major theft we have had from our three churches, so there is no longer any money to cover it. We need to sit down and have a meeting as to what we are going to do to raise funds. We will just try and rise to the challenge as best we can, but at the moment we don’t know how big that challenge is.”
Other churches in the team parish include St John’s in Upper Hopton and St Mary’s in Mirfield.
Trinity Playgroup is still using the lower rooms at St Paul’s, while the state of the rest of the church is being monitored.
Chairwoman of the Parochial Church Council Chris Breare said: “This is dreadful news.
“We have been absolutely devastated by the theft, but I want to thank the volunteers for the work they did on Monday –
Mopping up, protecting the exposed wood work and placing buckets to catch the worst of the torrent coming in.”
Anyone in the area who has noticed suspicious activity on the roof or anyone with any information on the theft can contact police on the non-emergency 101 number.