THIEVES stole the lead on the roof of the Temple Centre in Nuthall twice in ten days causing £5,000 worth of damage.
The intruders stole half the lead on the first occasion and returned ten days later to steal the rest and councillors have branded them ‘scum’.
After the first incident Nuthall Parish Council fitted a new anti-theft roof to the missing half, leaving the thieves baffled as they tried in vain to escape with that as well.
Council clerk Sue Stack said: “They took the rest of the lead, and you can see where they have tried desperately to take the new stuff we put on, which is made to look like lead but is actually just plastic and is worth nothing to them.
Cllr Philip Owen said the thieves smashed tiles and guttering, in a ‘pointless act of vandalism’, frustrated at not being able to take the new roofing.
“They are scum quite frankly. We are very angry.
“Not only have they stolen the remaining lead in this latest incident but they have caused significant damage to the tiles. It looks like they have deliberately smashed the tiles and the guttering.”
Councillors decided to take action to fit the new anti-theft roofing because the lead was also stolen from the centre twice in close succession four years ago.
“Otherwise we are just fighting a losing battle,” said Mrs Stack.
“You have got to put a stop to it. People replace it with lead but then it’s there, so they are probably just going to take it again.
“You have got to outsmart these people and do something different.”
Mrs Stack said she believes the thieves must have been disturbed on the first occasion because a pile of lead was left at the back of the building.
The new roofing system is combines two layers of plastic with aluminium running through the centre to make it look like lead.
Nuthall Parish Council will be claiming on their insurance to pay for the damage, but Mrs Stack hopes because they have taken steps to ensure it does not happen again, their insurance premium will not go up.
A police spokesman said: “Police were called to two incidents of metal theft at the Temple Community Centre. On both occasions thieves appear to have scaled the building and stolen lead flashing from the roof.
“Officers have provided crime prevention advice to staff at the centre and alternative replacement material is being sought for the roof. Investigations continue.”
Witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.