CHURCH members have been left heartbroken after around £20,000 worth of lead was stolen from the roof.
All Saints Church in Sudbury is now looking at installing CCTV and using an alternative to lead in a bid to deter thieves from returning.
Geoff Hodson, of All Saints Parochial Church Council, said: "We are all pretty heartbroken and shattered. But, to be honest, we are not 100% surprised as we have been told there have been others in Derbyshire.
"Retractable bollards, which were fitted after oil thefts of 1,000 litres in 2012, stopped the vehicles from getting up to the church but it appears that they lumped it out by hand. There must have been quite a few of them to get it all out.
"They had tried to break the bollard to get a vehicle in as they had broken off the handle which we have had to reorder in time for the weekend services.
"It did stop them getting in with a vehicle though. They have taken everything from the roof from the font to the book of remembrance."
The church was targeted between 5.30pm on Monday, May 4, and 2.30pm on Tuesday, May 5, when the lead was stripped from the south aisle of the church.
But there is now concern that there is the same amount of lead on the other side of the roof.
Mr Hodson said: "With Sudbury Hall being so close and attracting thousands of visitors, they can walk around the church and grounds so they can have access to the site while appearing to be a visitor.
"The location is also very isolated so people can make as much noise as they wanted and no one would pick it up at night.
"At the moment we are looking at alternatives to lead, such as reinforced rubber, but we have not had the chance to investigate yet.
"We are in the process of getting estimates but we are talking a lot of money if we replace it with lead."
He added that they were now looking into installing CCTV at the church.
The parochial council is now working with the insurers and Diocesan Advisory Committee to discuss their options.
The church will be holding its annual village fete in the sports field opposite Sudbury Hall from 2pm on Saturday, June 6 with the hope of raising cash for the church.
Anybody with information about the lead theft should call Derbyshire police on 101, quoting incident number 18789/15.
This story originally published by the Derby Telegraph