A RECTOR fighting to keep his historic city centre church open was dealt a further blow when he discovered water cascading through the roof.
The Rev David Chesters walked into St John the Baptist Church in Vicars Lane, Chester, to find thieves had stolen lead from the roof, leaving the grade one listed building open to the elements.
Although assessors are yet to valuate the damage, the crime comes at a bad time for the church - Chester’s first cathedral - which is preparing to launch an appeal to raise funds in order to stay open to the public.
Mr Chesters said: “It was really gushing into the porch. That was the first indication that someone had been doing what they shouldn’t have been. The fact it has happened here, a grade one listed building, is terrible.
“It takes a person without a sense of responsibility or responsibility for the community.”
The hole, created last Tuesday, is currently covered with a tarpaulin while St John’s consults with English Heritage as to a suitable solution.
Mr Chesters would prefer not to replace it with lead if there was a possibility of it being stolen again. Ideally, he would love a company to come forward with floodlighting or a security system, as such measures would be out of the price range of the beleagured church.
Mr Chesters added: “The problem we have at St John’s is it’s screened by trees. They would’ve done it undetected, probably at 2-3am.”
Meanwhile, the St John’s team have come up with a novel way of telling people about the church.
As well as the usual leaflets detailing a church’s history, St John’s will have a video playing both in the church and on the website, explaining St John’s interesting past as part of the St John’s Project. Filming took place on Tuesday this week.