THIEVES have stolen lead from Prince Charles’s dream development at Poundbury in Dorchester.

They stripped lead and slate from the roof of Poundbury Gardening Society’s store in an overnight raid.

Society leaders have hit out at the thieves and police have appealed for witnesses.

The crime comes after a series of lead thefts in the Dorchester area – including from the porch of a house in Highdown Avenue, Poundbury, in May.

Society chairman David Whitton said: “It hits everybody in the society and hits the cost of growing vegetables.

“We had someone try to take lead about three months ago but it was more difficult than they thought.

“Presumably it is the same people who have come back.” Former chairman and society founder Mike Newby added: “It’s very sad.

“We are clearly angry about it and a little frustrated.”

The theft from the shed and tool store happened between dusk on Saturday and 8am on Sunday.

Society leaders are not sure of the cost to replace the lead yet but think it could reach £1,500. The society is about a decade old, has 48 plots and a three-year long waiting list. Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall leased the land to the society at Poundbury and also built a boundary wall.

The Prince, a keen gardener, has visited the plots on several occasions to see how green-fingered residents are doing. Mr Newby said: “There have been some lead thefts in Poundbury and from churches.

“Some was taken from the cemetery at Moreton where TE Lawrence is buried.

“They have also had a go at the porches at Poundbury.”

Inspector Les Fry, of Dorchester Police, appealed for witnesses to the theft.

Witnesses and anyone with information about the thefts is urged to call the police on 01305 222222.