G4S guard at St Annes church during metal theft

A G4S security guard was outside a Lancashire church as thieves stripped lead from its roof, it has emerged.

The guards were hired to provide security for a fleet of cars parked at St Thomas Church, St Annes, during the Open Golf Championships at the weekend.

Lead was stolen from the roof on Saturday night - but it is believed a guard disturbed thieves when they returned for more on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for G4S said it was conducting an internal investigation.

Lancashire Police said the theft took place at the church on St Thomas Road sometime between 19:00 BST on Saturday and 06:00 BST on Sunday.

'Highest service levels'

A spokeswoman said offenders had climbed on to the roof, prised lead away and left the scene.

The force believes the offenders returned to take more lead from the roof, rolling it up and leaving it on the ground before being disturbed.

A G4S spokeswoman said: "We are aware of an incident at the site and will be conducting an internal investigation.

"We expect all our staff to maintain the highest levels of service, and will not hesitate to take appropriate disciplinary actions where standards fall short of our expectations."

G4S has been under fire since it emerged that 3,500 extra military personnel have had to be deployed to meet the firm's shortfall in trained security guards for the Olympic Games.

Police have also been drafted in to help fill gaps left by the firm.

More on this story

Related Internet links

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