A REVEREND is “outraged” after the latest in a spate of lead thefts saw his church facing a new bill of up to £15,000.

The Reverend Dr Ian Terry spoke out after thieves ripped away the vestry roof of St Stephen’s in Bournemouth with £100,000 worth of lead still missing from the last time they were targeted.

“It’s outrageous the way in which lead thieves have been taking from churches and then they come and take some more.

“They’ve been doing this to historic grade one listed buildings.”

After the lead was stolen water poured in and drenched vestments as well as programmes for the May Festival, being held at St Stephen’s this weekend.

The church was hit last November when £100,000 worth of lead was stolen and water is still leaking in on that side of the building too.

Some pieces of lead left behind had to be stripped off when tarpaulin was put up to limit the leaks.

Dr Terry, who is the team rector, said St Peter’s has also been targeted in the town centre.

“These churches are part of Bournemouth’s heritage and lead thieves are really putting those buildings at risk”, he said.

“And this time it’s going to cost in the region of £10,000 to £15,000.”

On Saturday the Daily Echo reported how St John’s church in Broadstone lost £10,000 worth of lead after a £100,000 refurbishment, with the congregation now taking action by manning the building at night.

St Michael’s Church on Poole Hill in Bournemouth is also among the other Dorset churches to be hit amid a rise in scrap metal prices.

It was targeted three times in a month just two months ago.

The Reverend Reg Baldock said it is difficult meeting the cost of repairs as they are expected to use lead for repairs and not a lead substitute because the buildings are listed.

He said he needs the approval of the Diocese and Advisory Committee with English Heritage and the Victorian Society involved.

He said: “You have to jump through so many hoops.

“Why do you have to use lead when they are only going to steal it away again?

“We are suffering with water pouring through the roof.”

A Dorset Police spokesman appealed for any witnesses or anyone with information about the theft from St Stephen’s overnight on Monday night to call them on 101, quoting reference 1:307.