School targeted five times in three months

Anne Peet at the Croston Old School
Anne Peet at the Croston Old School

A grade-two listed former school building in a Chorley village has been targeted by lead thieves five times in the past three months.

The old school on Church Street received a £500,000 transformation by the National Lottery and now almost a decade on, it has been the target of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Now, organisers have installed tiles on the roof to replace the lead from the 1827 building.

Anne Peet, chairman of Croston Parish Council, who also works at the former school, said: “This is a really well used community resources for christenings, weddings and even by the pre-school.

“For this to happen it is really annoying and a nuisance because it can be expensive to repair.

“The insurance excess makes it so costly even though have not got a total for all the damage they have caused.

“It seems such a petty crime but lead has a very high value on scrap metal market.

“We are fortunate that Chorley Council planners allowed us to replace it with ridge tiles on the roof instead of the lead because the criminals were just going to come back time and again.

“At least now there is not enough (lead) for them to take.”

There have also been reports of lead being taken from the Alms houses on nearby Drinkhouse Lane on the same night this month.

Now, Mrs Peet added they are looking to beef up security on the site.

“We have borrowed a CCTV camera from the parish council and put it up around the building,” she said.

“The trustees of the school are also meeting up to discuss how we can better use lighting to deter people from coming back.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Constabulary said: “We have offered crime prevention advice to the organisers at the school because there was a lack of CCTV coverage and we hope that it will stop the problem.”

“We would urge anyone with information to contact the police on 08451253545.”