A large amount of lead was stolen from a Banburyshire church roof leaving the interior exposed to the heavy rain but the community came to the rescue.
Witnesses are being sought by police after five men took the lead from The Church of St Peter and St Paul in King’s Sutton at some point overnight on Thursday (June 6) into Friday.
Sergeant Michaela Simons, of the Daventry and South Northants Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The theft and subsequent damage to the church has had a significant impact on the community.
"Many in the village have rallied together and brought buckets and plastic sheeting to protect the internal structures of the church and ancient paintings that are now exposed to water ingress. Work will be ongoing to cover the outer part of the roof.”
Officers investigating the theft of the lead are appealing for anyone in the area with CCTV, or who was driving a vehicle with dashcam footage in the areas of Red Lion Street, The Avenue, and Church Avenue, between 5pm on Thursday and 5am on Friday, to get in touch.
They would also like to trace two vehicles with trailers parked in Red Lion Street at around 5.30pm on Thursday, and a vehicle and trailer seen at the junction of Church Avenue and Red Lion Street, at around 12.30am on Friday, as either possible witnesses or suspects.
The suspects involved in the lead theft are all men. One wore a light top, either with a hood or similarly coloured hat, and very dark coloured bottoms.
The next is described as light skinned with short, dark hair. He wore a long-sleeved top which may have been ribbed or puffer-style, matching bottoms and reflective trainers.
A third man wore a dark long-sleeved hooded top and paler bottoms. The fourth also wore a dark long-sleeved hooded top and much lighter coloured bottoms.
The fifth is described as light skinned with a dark beard and glasses. He wore very dark bottoms and long-sleeved top, with a much lighter top showing beneath. He also wore a paler beanie hat and distinctive contrast coloured shoes.
Also being investigated by police is a similar offence at All Saints Church, in Church Lane, Croughton, which occurred overnight from Wednesday into Thursday.
Anyone with CCTV or dashcam footage filmed in the area during the time the offence happened should call police on 101.
Information can also be shared anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.