St Martin’s Church in Seamer is in the middle of a £35,000 fundraising campaign to replace lead stolen from the church roof earlier this year.
The Rev Andrew Moreland said: “It’s incredible how much damage has been caused by the theft of such low quality lead.”
The roof is now leaking to such an extent that the choristers' pews have had to be covered by plastic sheeting to protect them.
Retired vicar the Rev Richard Firth said: "It’s unbelievable how many thousands of pounds damage have been caused for the sake of a few hundred pounds of lead.”
The parochial church council at the Grade I listed Norman church, which underwent a series of repairs funded by English Heritage in 2009, is looking to replace the lead with a turned steel roof, a material with a considerably lower market value and, therefore, much less attractive to thieves. “We could replace it with lead," said the Rev Moreland, “but then we’d simply leave ourselves open to it happening again.”
The church runs an active programme of activities, including a Youth Club twice a month and weekly coffee mornings.
The church council is looking at a number of ways to raise funds, including a coffee morning in Irton on August 3 and a “buy a foot” campaign, where people can sponsor a square foot of the roof repairs for £5.