‘Blow to morale’ for Leeds church hub after being targeted by thieves

MESS: Thieves stole the Yorkshire stone and churned up the grass.
MESS: Thieves stole the Yorkshire stone and churned up the grass.
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A Leeds church was targeted by thieves who broke in and stole stone paving from the front porch.

St John The Evangelist Church has been going through a series of repairs to help expand it into a community hub.

However, last weekend the church suffered a setback as theives cut through its metal gates and used a truck to lift the Yorkshire stone paving. The grass at the front of the church has also been ruined.

Thefts of Yorkshire stone paving are becoming more frequent as the material is increasing in value. It can be costly to repair and it is recommended that the stone is marked or painted to make it identifiable and deter thieves.

The incident follows the theft of Yorkshire stone from sister church St Oswald’s in Methley eight weeks ago.

Rev Sarah Hancox, vicar at the church, said of the most recent incident: “Fortunately, they weren’t able to get through the main door and we’re really glad about that.

“However, it’s a blow to morale because we’re coming to the end of repairs which have been funded by the Heritage Fund. This is just another setback and it does add to the funds we need 
to raise.

“Just two weeks ago, we had our lightning conductor stolen because it was made of copper and three years ago we had lead stolen from 
the roof.”

Despite the setbacks, Rev Hancox is determined to help keep the church open.

She said: “Hopefully, this will raise awareness about what is going on at the church and more people can get 
involved.

“We are continuing with our plans to renew and re-open it as a community hub.

“It’s for everyone in the community, not just for people who come on Sunday.”

Ian Marwood of Sentio Partners  Picture: Giles Rocholl

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