LEAD thieves have caused more than £100,000 worth of damage to one of the best preserved Grade-I listed historic halls in North Yorkshire.

Staff arrived at Bedale Hall on Monday morning to find rain cascading through light fittings and down walls.

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A large part of the central roof, covering an area of about 80 feet by 20 feet, had been stripped of lead.

It is not known when the damage was done because it was only when it started to rain overnight on Sunday that water poured in.

Hall manager Sally Williams said: "I just burst into tears, it's devastating. The water was pouring through the lights and the ceilings. The damage is bad but it could have been much worse.

"If this had happened over a weekend it may not have been spotted for a long time and then the water could have caused a lot more damage.

"It is heartbreaking though because so much work has gone into improving and preserving the hall and then this happens.

"People were brilliant they dashed around with buckets and mops, Bedale Electrical and Freewarm from Crakehall were so good, tarpaulins have been put over the damaged roof and we are watertight.

Now it's a question of assessing how bad it is and we have been in touch with the insurance company."

 

Police have launched an investigation.

It is thought the thieves hit somewhere between Thursday September 16 and the early hours of Mondaymorning.

Police are appealing to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area of the hall or on the roof to contact PC 1793 Sarah Norman quoting 12210210008 via 101 or email Sarah.Norman@northyorkshire.police.uk

The hall is a Palladian mansion largely built around 1730 with later additions and a spectacular ballroom which luckily escaped damage.

Newly refurbished historic conference rooms have been affected.

Over £100,000 worth of damage was caused to Bedale Hall roof by lead thieves

Over £100,000 worth of damage was caused to Bedale Hall roof by lead thieves

The historic building was bought for £4,000 by the former rural council in 1951 after being taken over by squatters after the war and is now run by a charitable trust as a community and business centre for the town.

It is the second important building in Bedale to be hit by lead thieves. In 2016 massive damage was caused to the 700-year-old St Gregory's Church.

A special dispensation had to be secured from historic groups to replace the roof with £300,000 worth of modern of stainless steel.

It is thought the same approach will now be taken at Bedale Hall.

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