In 2015 around £3,000 worth of lead was stolen from the aisle roof of Combs Church, Suffolk. The theft occurred overnight and was one in a spate of thefts across the region. The cost of the resulting replacement and repair was nearly £60,000.
With the lead taken from the roof the interior of the church was exposed to the weather and water damage affected to the internal plaster. Even though all the lead wasn’t taken it all had to be removed from the aisles and a new finish had to be laid, prior to this though a temporary roof was formed to protect the church interior from further damage. As is often the case in situations such as these the re-use of lead is concerning due to its appeal to thieves, it has therefore been replaced with a terne coated stainless steel finish. Before this could be done though the re-roofing had to be approved the DAC and go through the proper decision making process. Alongside the roofing a number of wall repairs and new flashings were required.
Initially stainless steel has a harsher appearance than lead but over time it weathers down to contrast with lead nicely and this is already evident at Combs after a number of months. To further protect the roof smart water and an alarm has also been installed.