Church roofs across Wiltshire are being targeted by lead thieves and everyone should be vigilant and report suspicious activity immediately to the police.

In recent weeks, churches of all sizes across the county have been hit, including Malmesbury Abbey and Salisbury Cathedral.

About £40,000 worth of lead was stolen from The Rectory, Zeals between August 14 and 16.

At Christ Church, Warminster, more than half of the lead was removed, and about six tonnes of lead was stolen from St James Church, Bratton.

At Malmesbury Abbey, two sections of lead piping were stolen between August 15 and 16. At Salisbury Cathedral, four 10ft lead down pipes were stolen.

Det Sgt Sam Hopkinson, urging residents to report suspicious activity immediately, said: “In recent weeks, we have had a number of which will be extremely costly and inconvenient to repair.

“I’d like to ask the public to report any suspicious activity around our churches –anyone seen on church roofs, vehicles parked nearby which aren’t familiar, or any torch lights spotted around churches at night or early hours in the morning. We need to know about this activity as it is happening, so please help by being our eyes and ears and letting us know when you see it.

“We are determined to identify those involved.”

Call 101, or 999, if a crime is in progress.

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