A church trying to raise £500,000 for a major restoration project has become the latest to be targeted by lead thieves.
St Mary’s on the Headland suffered damage to its presbytery roof by vandals who were after lead.
It is the third Hartlepool church to have been targeted by lead thieves this month alone.
We reported last week how both St Oswald’s and St Hilda’s churches has lead stripped from their roofs causing thousands of pounds of damage.
St Oswald’s suffered the theft after it raised £83,500 to replace lead stolen in 2015.
Cleveland Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
St Mary’s Bernadette Malcolmson, a member of the church’s Community Council, said: “They ripped all the porch roof off.
“We had to do a rush job to try to cover it off to prevent the rain coming in through the roof.
“They have caused significant damage. It is going to be in the region of about £3,000 to replace.
“It’s another cost when we are trying to deal with the restoration of the building.
“The damage means we have got to turn our attention to that instead of focussing on the restoration.”
St Mary’s launched the campaign to raise £500,000 in February to return the building to its former glory.
Church campaigners have launched a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding and are also working closely with the community.
Work needed includes to the bell tower which is crumbling from the inside out, and also to exterior walls and the church floor.
Police say there is an ongoing investigation into the lead theft from St Hilda’s Church.
A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Cleveland Police received a report of an attempted theft of lead at St Mary’s Church and thefts of lead from both St Hilda’s Church and St Oswald’s Church in Hartlepool over the last couple of weeks.
“Anyone who may have information regarding any of these incidents is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101.”