THIEVES caused £10,000 of damage when they ripped lead from the roof of a Hampshire school.

Carpets were left sodden and walls stained from rainwater after the metal was torn from the Cranberry Annexe of Eastleigh College.

Now workmen are involved in a race against time to complete thousands of pounds of repairs at the adult learning facility before term starts in September.

Lead worth £5,000 was stolen in the raid at the Victorian building sometime over the summer holidays.

Staff only discovered the theft when water began to seep through the ceiling during recent heavy rainfall. Electricity has had to be turned of while experts begin to assess the damage.

College chief executive Tony Lau-walker said: “Everything is wet and damp and the ceilings are weakened.

“It must have happened in the middle of the night.

“It is a very sad start to our 50th year but we hope everything will be up and running before term starts – despite the wreck that’s in there at the moment.”

It is believed the incident happened overnight on August 17 but could have happened up to three weeks ago with the school empty for summer holidays.

Anyone with information should contact PC Keith Walsh at Eastleigh police station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

• Lead thieves have also targeted a church in the New Forest. The roof of St Paul’s in Bisterne was stripped of lead leaving it exposed to the elements. Furniture and walls were left saturated with rainwater and the vestry of the Victorian church is now in need of a complete refurbishment.