Thieves target 100-year-old chapel


A centenarian chapel at Leighton’s Vandyke Road Cemetery was targeted by criminals last weekend when equipment to keep out water was stolen from the roof.

It happened between 3.30pm last Friday and Monday morning and Leighton-Linslade Town Council’s operations manager, John Connew, says he wants to shame the thieves who stole the lead flashing, which will take hundreds of pounds to replace.

John said: “My initial reaction was absolute shock. Why would somebody disfigure a lovely building like that? That was the first reaction and then you think right, what are we going to do to get this fixed.

“I have got a couple of quotes in and they are around the £700/800 mark. The new stuff we put up may have ultraviolet pen on so we can put our postcode on it or SmartWater, we don’t know yet.”

John says he has been told the lead flashing is only worth about £60, but the amount it will now take to replace it will have to be taken out of the funding for ongoing works at the cemetery.

John added: “That’s what is a bit heartbreaking because for all of this agro it’s causing us for the sake of that amount of money.

“I think they knew lead is worth some money so what may have done is took it to sell it onto an authorised scrap dealer, I don’t really know how it works.

“We just want people to be aware that this is costing the community a lot of money because obviously we have to make sure that building is water tight and with the lead missing, it’s not.

“We don’t like wasting money, but in my view this is a waste of money because it could have been avoided if these people hadn’t done it.

“We are having an extension for the pathways and could have used that money there.

“I’m upset and the cemetery workers who do a great job there are upset because they don’t want to see this building, which has been standing there for 100 years, in that state.

“I reported it straight away because I wanted the police to be aware in case whoever did this came back to take the other side of the lead.”