Bournemouth vicar catches lead thief on roof

Andrew Paul Miller Miller was caught after he was seen climbing onto the church roof

Related Stories

A man has been sentenced to two years imprisonment for stealing lead from a church roof in Bournemouth.

The vicar of St Stephen's Church stayed in the church overnight and alerted police when the thief was on the roof.

Andrew Paul Miller, 36 of Wimborne Road pleaded guilty to two counts of theft, at Bournemouth Crown Court.

Rev Christopher Colledge called the theft "despicable" and said the church had suffered £200,000 damage from similar thefts.

He had stayed inside the church until the early hours of 11 May when he suspected a theft of roof lead may take place overnight.

'Sorrow and unhappiness'

He described watching through the church letterbox while a hooded figure climbed up a drainpipe on to the roof shortly before 02:00 BST

Police surrounded the building and a fire brigade cherry picker was used to lift officers on to the roof to find the man, who was hiding.

Mr Colledge said: "Hopefully the sentence will send a message to other thieves that they are causing so much sorrow and unhappiness for congregations having to raise funds for repairs."

He said an "entire side" of the roof had been stripped of lead in previous incidents, with rainwater leaking in causing damage to church artefacts, computers, electrics and books.

"Enough is enough, we're not going to tolerate it any more," he added.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Dorset



7 °C 4 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • KnucklesGood or bad?

    For many it can be very satisfying to 'crack' the bones in your hand, but is it bad for you?


  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.