A CHURCH in Westhoughton has been targeted by thieves for the second time this year in a move that has been described as “heartbreaking” by a churchgoer.

The Hart Common Church fell prey to lead thieves at the weekend.

They made their way onto the roof and in a desperate bid to make off with some lead cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to the building.

The site, located on Wigan Road, used to be a primary school.

Images show a large amounts of slates having been ripped off near where two bits of the roof come together.

The actions of the callous thieves have meant that with the recent bad weather rain has poured into the building causing more damage.

Tony Cheetham, a churchgoer, has revealed the body will have to reach into its funds to install CCTV in a bid to deter future vandals from approaching the site.

He said: “They have got onto the roof to pinch lead.

“They smashed all the slates to get the lead, they ripped the lead off.

“When it is pouring down it comes inside, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“I doubt they even got £100 of lead.

“It is heartbreaking.

“We are going to try to get some money together to have CCTV fitted but if they have got balaclavas or hoods up we haven’t got a chance.

“We don’t have a lot of money, we are a small fellowship.

Mr Cheetham said he was at a loss to understand why people would target them in this way.

He said: “It is mad, damaging somebody else’s property, especially a church.”

Cllr Tony Hewitt, who represents the Hoskers and Hart Common Ward on Westhoughton Town Council, condemned the act.

He said: “It is awful.

“Acts of vandalism do have a devastating impact on the organisations that they affect.

“It is never good when this happens.

“We want to make sure the police are trying to catch the culprits.

“Vandalism like this really does much more damage than the metals are worth.”