Police in West Lothian have appealed for witnesses following two reports of lead being stolen from church roofs in Broxburn.
The first incident occurred at Broxburn Parish Church, Church Street. A builder discovered the theft on Thursday, December 11, when he was repairing damage caused by a previous theft of lead. It was then revealed that the remaining lead had been taken.
This is the third occasion lead has been stolen from Broxburn Parish Church roof. The theft has caused significant damage to the church building.
It is unknown when the last theft occurred, but the roof had been treated with Smart Water, a chemical marking solution, beforehand. It is virtually impossible to remove Smart Water and it will still reside on stolen lead.
The second incident occurred at SS John Cantius & Nicholas RC Church, West Main Street. The theft was also discovered on Thursday, December 11, when water damage was noticed in the building. It is also unknown when this theft took place.
Due to the similarities in the nature of these thefts, and the proximity of the churches involved, police believe the incidents may be linked. They are now appealing for any witnesses who may have seen either incident take place to come forward.
Chief Inspector Paul Cameron, Area Commander for West Lothian, said: “These are despicable crimes, which have caused serious damage and cost to both churches.
“It is also particularly upsetting that these crimes have occurred during the festive season, when these churches are at their busiest. The consequences of these crimes have also been exacerbated due to the poor weather conditions we are currently experiencing.
“We are calling on anyone who may have seen people on the roof of either church to contact Police Scotland immediately.
“One positive aspect of this investigation is that the roof at Broxburn Parish Church had been treated with Smart Water. We believe this will extensively progress our investigation and that it is only a matter of time before we catch the culprits and bring them to justice.
“Police can be contacted on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”