Chichester schools’ roofs stripped as thieves hunt for lead

Lead theft  - Central Junior School head teacher Andrew Goff.''C120022-1 Chi Lead Theft  Photo Louise Adams
Lead theft - Central Junior School head teacher Andrew Goff.''C120022-1 Chi Lead Theft Photo Louise Adams

Two Chichester schools will be forced to dip into their pockets after heartless thieves stole lead from their roofs.

The headteachers of Central Junior CofE and Lancastrian Infants were left gobsmacked when they arrived at their schools to find thieves had made away with a sizeable amount of lead.

This left the schools, both by Orchard Street, without adequate protection from adverse weather and builders had to be called in to protect the vulnerable areas.

This is the third time Central Junior has been targeted by lead thieves, something headteacher Andrew Goff said is a dreadful act to commit.

“I came here in 2006 and the first lead theft happened in 2007; they took some lead off the main hall roof, from the gullies. It was a sizeable chunk,” he said.

“We replaced it with some plastic. Then the second theft happened in November 2010 on the back of the office block, where it was targeted this time. Following the 2010 theft we improved the security, put up extra gates.

“I know we are in difficult financial times and people are cash-strapped but to target schools is dreadful. We don’t get any vandalism here, no graffiti.

“Something like this is hard to combat. We are going to look into seeing if we can replace it with alternative means.”

Roof tiles at the school were left damaged or missing after the lead theft between January 5 and 6.

The school said thieves must have climbed the gates or fence to have stolen the lead, as there isn’t a enough room to park a vehicle.

Amanda Harkey, headteacher at Lancastrian Infants, said: “The caretaker from Central Juniors came over to tell us. It is very, very disheartening.

“It’s another big job to do. It means having to spend money on the lead, which could have been spent on something for the children. It is disappointing. I have spent all morning sorting it all out.

“When we are celebrating lots of good things, it is sad when something like this happens.”

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Police are investigating two incidents in which lead was stolen from two Chichester schools.

“Lead was taken from Central C of E Junior School and Lancastrian Infants School overnight between Thursday, January 5 and Friday, January 6.

“Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious in the area around this time. The lead would have been large and several people may have used a vehicle to leave the scene.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 254 or 6/1 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.