STRIPS of lead which may value up to £20,000 have been stolen from the roof of All Saint's Church in Slingsby.

North Yorkshire Police said that the church has been targeted on a number of occasions by lead thieves.

In a statement they 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.

"The North Yorkshire Police website has extensive crime prevention advice on how to protect such buildings:"

Anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area, or has any information that could assist the investigation, is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting reference number 12160172639.