UP to £20,000 of lead has been stolen from the low pitched roof at a Grade II-star listed church.

North Yorkshire Police said All Saint’s Church, in Slingsby, near Helmsley, had been repeatedly targeted by lead thieves.

A police spokesman said: “Eight long sheets of lead were taken between 10pm on Wednesday, September 21 and 8am the following day.

“The value of the theft may total £20,000.

“This is a deplorable crime, targeting an historic community building, and an investigation is underway to identify those responsible.

“Sadly, the isolated location and welcoming nature of North Yorkshire’s rural churches can make them vulnerable to criminals."

Anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area, or has information that could assist the investigation, should call police on 101.