Locals come to Cathedral’s aid

Rev Jonathan Greener is furious because led has been stolen from Wakefield Cathedral roof.
Rev Jonathan Greener is furious because led has been stolen from Wakefield Cathedral roof.
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GENEROUS city residents have been digging deep to help pay for repairs to the Cathedral roof which was damaged by lead thieves.

The Dean of Wakefield, Jonathan Greener, said he was ‘touched’ by all the sympathetic messages and donations that had been flooding in since the Express revealed that thieves had targeted the city-centre landmark twice in one week.

On Tuesday, police confirmed they had arrested two men aged 33 and 29 in connection with the offence, who are now on bail.

Recent refurbishment work on the roof took more than two years to complete and cost more than £250,000.

Mr Greener said the lead thefts had been a ‘huge blow’ at a time when the Cathedral was trying to raise £5m for its transformation scheme, Project 2013.

He said: “I would like to thank all those who have sent us kind words and given us donations. We even had £10 sent in by a little old lady, with a note saying it was for the roof, which was especially touching.”

The Cathedral is one of a number of churches that has signed up to the police’s Faith Watch scheme that was launched in January.

It is designed to prevent crimes such as theft or criminal damage occurring within local churches, mosques and other religious buildings.

Police are now urging more faith communities to sign up to the initiative.

Inspector Steve Palmer of the force’s Local Policing Support Department said metal and lead theft was becoming an increasing problem particularly affecting religious buildings.”

Walton Methodist Church on Shay Lane was targeted just last week.

He said: “Faith Watch schemes have been set up all across the county and we have had a really positive response since their launch.

“Information is circulated regularly in those areas which gives local worshippers the chance to take steps to protect their religious building. Any religious building, whether it is a church or a mosque, is an establishment for all of the community.

“Theft or any crime against a religious building affects the wider community. To become part of a Faith Watch scheme please contact 01924 292904.