THIEVES attempted to steal lead from a village church roof.
St Mary the Virgin Church in Church Lane, Edith Weston, was targeted between 5.30pm on Monday and 3.10pm on Tuesday.
The lead roof at the side of the church was damaged as the thieves attempted to prise it off.
Parochial Church Council member David Forbes, of Weston Road, Edith Weston, said: “This is the first time that we have been targeted for lead theft and we thought we were safe.
“Everybody in the village is shocked at the fact that the church was targeted because it is right in the middle of the village.”
Police think that the thieves were disturbed by a member of the public or one of the Army patrols from St George’s Barracks which patrol the area.
Mr Forbes said: “The Army have agreed to double their patrols in the village just in case the thieves come back.
“Hopefully this will deter them from coming back again.”
Sgt Lee Morris from Oakham police station said: “We would ask people living near churches or walking their dogs in the area to look out for vehicles or torches near the church late at night.
“Even moved ladders or wheelie bins can be an indicator of suspicious activity.”
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Anyone with information can contact police on 0116 222 2222.