Police are investigating the theft of a large amount of lead from a village church.

Some time between Saturday, 5 and Monday, October 7, the north side of the roof of the St Hilda's Church in Sherburn was stripped of lead.

The damage also resulted in rainwater getting into the church through the exposed roof.

St Hilda's Churach dates back to the early twelfth century, and there has been a church on its site since Saxon times. Grade II* listed, it was rebuilt and restored between 1909-1912.

North Yorkshire Police officers are investigating the theft, and are urging anyone with information to contact them.

A spokesperson said: “This appalling theft has caused damage to a precious and historic building that has stood at the heart of the local community for hundreds of years. The actions of whoever did this are as selfish as they are disgraceful.

“We are investigating the theft, and would urge anyone in Sherburn or the surrounding area who saw any suspicious activity to get in touch.”

If you have information that could assist the investigation, please call North Yorkshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Please quote reference number 12190185555.

North Yorkshire’s historic churches attract visitors from across the country and around the world, and their heritage value alone is priceless.

North Yorkshire Police support Heritage Watch schemes, which aim to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour at historic sites. By protecting our shared heritage, we can ensure these buildings will continue to be enjoyed for many years to come.

Supporters are asked to be aware of where the heritage sites are in their communities, keep an eye out for them, and report any concerns to the police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress. Find out more about Heritage Watch at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/heritagewatch