Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 13:06 UK

Church's lead organ pipes stolen

Thieves have stolen lead organ pipes worth up to 10,000 from a Kent church.

Police said 47 pipes were taken from St Laurence Church in Leaveland, near Faversham, between 22 June and 6 July.

Sgt Dave Smith said the impact on the church was substantial and appealed to the thieves' "better nature" to return the pipes if they had not been sold.

He said they could fetch 50 as scrap but could cost 10,000 to replace. The appeal came as police mounted a two-day crackdown on metal theft across the UK.

Metal thieves are said to be costing the economy 360m every year, with drain covers, lead from church roofs, and railway signal cables among the items being stolen.

'No music in church'

In an appeal to find the organ pipes, Sgt Smith said: "This is a despicable crime. Though the offenders may just see this as a petty theft, the impact it has on those that use the church is substantial."

He added that until the tens of thousands of pounds was found to replace the pipes, the church would be "devoid of music".

A flatbed lorry seen in the area on 30 June could have been involved, he added.

A spate of lead thefts from flats in Canterbury also led police to warn householders on Tuesday to be vigilant.

Officers believe a number of properties may have been affected and the thieves were on foot and aged between 18 to 25.

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Birmingham Post Police target metal thieves - 9 hrs ago
Slate Magazine Never say "Murphy, never!" - 10 hrs ago
IC Wales Police crackdown on scrap metal thieves - 15 hrs ago
Daily Mail Crackdown on scrap metal raids which cost the country £360m a year - 18 hrs ago
Rye and Battle Observer Lead organ pipes stolen from church - 18 hrs ago

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