A CHURCH which has had the lead stolen from its roof five times has decided to give in and replace it with stainless steel.

St Blaise Church in Milton near Didcot had to replace the roofing on its vestry twice in the past 12 months alone.

Since the most recent theft in May, the church has only had a tarpaulin covering the vestry and water is starting to get in.

Now, church fathers have applied for planning permission to put on a new roofing which they hope will be harder to swipe.

In a planning application to Vale of White Horse District Council in August, the church wrote: "On each occasion when this roof has been attacked, different sections of lead have been stolen, and over the series of thefts the whole roof has been replaced.

"In the more recent thefts the thieves have been careful not to disturb the edging so that the theft would not be noticed from the ground."

The church said it had considered fitting an alarm, but felt it would be too unsafe to ask villagers to go and investigate if it ever went off in the middle of the night.

As a result, it is now proposing to remove the lead that remains and replace its entire roof with 0.5mm-thick terne coated stainless steel roof coverings.

See the plans online at whitehorsedc.gov.uk using application reference number P17/V2353/FUL