CALLOUS thieves have stripped a community centre of thousands of pounds worth of lead – for the second time in a year.

George Edwards Hall in Well Street, Cefn Mawr was targeted overnight on Thursday, but police say it is the latest in a spate of lead and scrap metal thefts in the Cefn Mawr, Rhosymedre and Acrefair areas.

In the past 12 months the popular community centre in the heart of the village has been targeted twice by metal raiders and the people in charge are now considering fitting CCTV cameras to prevent further attacks.

The hall is owned and run by Cefn Mawr Community Council whose chairman Ken Bathers said: “We are very angry and upset that someone could do this to a community facility.

“In the first incident, which was last year, thousands of pounds worth of lead was taken from all parts of the roof.

“In the latest incident, which we discovered when he opened the hall on Friday morning, about 30ft of lead coping from the front of the building was taken.

“We will now have to make another insurance claim but, again, it will probably run into thousands of pounds because it will mean putting up scaffolding to reach the roof.

“We’ll probably now have to put in a CCTV system but that is likely to be very expensive.”

North Wales Police are now stepping up patrols after five or six similar thefts in the area in just the past few weeks.

Lead has been stolen from chapels in Rhosymedre and Acrefair, with scrap metal and copper piping being taken from the site of the former Flexsys chemical works which is currently being decommissioned.

Officers believe the culprits may be using a vehicle to transport the stolen metal and are appealing to local residents and businesses with CCTV cameras to check them for information that might be useful in tracing the raiders.

PCSO Emma Owen said: “Not only is this causing a huge amount of damage and inconvenience, the repair cost for the victims is also very high.

“If anyone has CCTV in that area, I would ask them to check their system and report anything that appears suspicious.

“We would also ask residents and businesses to vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact North Wales Police on 101, or local PCSO Owen on 07854 333287.