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Lead stolen from Shaw House, twice in a fortnight

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FOR the second time in a fortnight, thieves have stolen lead from the roof of Shaw House, a Grade one listed Elizabethan house.

The incident, on Monday night, was the fifth time in a year that the building, owned by West Berkshire Council and built in 1581 by Newbury clothier Thomas Doman, has been damaged by thieves stripping metal from the roof.

Heritage and tourism service manager Amanda Loaring said: “In 2011, we had three instances, then one again two weeks ago, and then this morning (Tuesday) when staff came in they saw that it had happened again.”

She added that it was not only the cost of replacing the stolen lead that was a problem, but “the damage they do when they try to pull it off.”

“Last year, we had substantial damage to the stonework.”

She said that the situation had got so bad that staff now checked the roof every day to make sure more bits had not gone missing overnight.

The building is protected by CCTV, but Mrs Loaring said that she did not know whether the police would be able to identify the perpetrators from the footage.

A spokesman for the council, Keith Ulyatt, said: “The value of the lead that has been taken is not believed to be of a great amount, and the council does have insurance for its properties and details around that will be being looked at.”

“As a criminal investigation, it will be up to the police to use acquire any CCTV footage if that is what they wish to do. Regarding further protection, we are also in discussions with English Heritage about the possible use of alternative roofing materials to combat the problem.”

Police spokesman Leo Tarring said: “Police are investigating a report of theft of lead from the roof of a building in Church Road, Shaw, Newbury, which is believed to have happened between 5.30pm on Monday and 7.15am on Tuesday.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact contact the police on 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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