THIEVES have stolen lead flashing from a Weymouth church that has suffered two similar attacks in the past two years.

Three batches of two-metre lengths of leadwork were taken from under windows in the overnight raid at St Aldhelm’s Church in Spa Road at Radipole.

Team rector the Reverend Ian Hobbs said it was the third time the church had been targeted since 2010.

He said: “We’ve had two previous lead thefts. In February this year, three people were caught for doing exactly the same kind of stuff.

“That happened in the early hours of the morning but they were caught because somebody saw them.”

He added: “This causes a lot of work for our church warden and is costly for the church community. It’s symptomatic of something sad in our society.”

The theft occurred between 9pm on Tuesday, October 16 and 8am on Wednesday, October 17.

In 2010, a teenager was sentenced by Weymouth magistrates to 120 hours of community work after assisting two friends in stealing 88kg of lead from the church roof.

Church warden David Turnball told the court at the time that such a theft could have caused untold damage if it had rained, and disruption to services.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “Between 9pm on October 16 and 8am on October 17, unknown offenders stole three, two-metre lengths of lead flashing, from under the windows of the church.”

The raid comes as shops and businesses begin to suffer lead thefts, along with churches across Dorset.

Anyone with information about the theft at St Aldhelm’s can contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting crime number 43640.

Thieves More Desperate A NUMBER of churches, schools and businesses have fallen victim to lead thefts over the past two years.

A shop in South Street in Dorchester had lead stolen. It was taken between 6pm on Wednesday, September 26 and 11am on Thursday, September 27.

Lead has also been stripped from top of the vestry of the 13th-century St Mary’s Church and from St Nicholas’ Church in Sydling St Nicholas.

Lead was stolen from Prince Charles’s dream development at Poundbury in Dorchester.

All Saints Church, at Wyke Regis in Weymouth, and St Nicholas’ Church in Abbotsbury have also been targeted.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to the roof of Dorchester YMCA by lead thieves.