A church has been attacked by thieves for the second time in two weeks.

Lead was taken from the roof of St Mary & All Saints Church in Droxford in the Meon Valley on Good Friday evening, just days after a similar robbery on March 27.

The combined worth of the lead from both robberies is thought to be about £4,000.

Now parishioners are petitioning the diocese to replace the lead on the roof with steel to avoid further thefts.

Churchwarden Elizabeth Stewart, of Police Station Lane, Droxford, said: “It’s very upsetting, especially as it happened on the evening of Good Friday. It’s very much a village-wide feeling that we should put something else up there instead and steel is less attractive to thieves.”

Her husband Ninian Stewart, a parishioner at the church since 1944, said: “We used Smart Water as a precaution but it proved totally ineffective, possibly because we could only afford to put it round the edges of the lead.”

Mr Stewart added that thieves had damaged tombstones during the raid, including one of Captain Jasper Haines, who took part in one of the first raids on German ‘Enigma’ machines during the Second World War.

A diocese meeting will discuss replacing the lead in May