A CHURCH and a bus stop were targeted by thieves who stole lead and copper from the buildings.

Lead was stolen from St Mary’s Church, Chirk, along with copper from the bus shelter near the town’s Hand Hotel.

Chirk South councillor Terry Evans said he had not seen thefts on this level before in the town, believing copper has also been stolen from the bus stop in neighbouring Rhoswiel.

He said: “How can anyone want to do this and steal lead from a church?

“The town is currently looking so beautiful for Wales in Bloom and then we have people doing this.

“It is disgraceful what has happened and I hope we do not see anything like this again here.

“The cost and time it will take to carry out the repairs will far outweigh the value of the stolen items.”

The theft of lead  from the roof of St Mary’s Church was discovered on Wednesday.

The vicar, the Rev Tony Rees, said he was waiting to discover the full extent of the damage caused to the church roof and how much work would be required to carry out repairs.

He said parishioners had seen two men in a van knocking on doors and asking for scrap metal earlier in the day.

“When they didn’t get any they must have just decided to take it themselves. They had metal from three different buildings, not just the church.

“They’ve caused an immense amount of damage for the price they’ll get. You might think it’s just a bit of lead, but then the rain comes in and you’ve got rot. This is a real nuisance and it seems the culprits have just been malicious.

“My main concern is to make sure everyone in Chirk is aware there may be thieves about.”

A police spokesman said it was too early to say if the incidents were connected.

He added: “We were contacted on July 20 regarding reports that lead had been stolen from St Mary’s Church, Chirk. We are appealing for information and anyone with information should contact PCSO Steven Griffiths at Chirk on 101 or 0845 6071002 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.”

He also confirmed copper had been reported stolen from the bus stop by The Hand Hotel on Wednesday, July 13 at 6.45pm.