A GROUP of thieves targeted the local estate agent, surveyor and auctioneer Rendells at the end of last week, stealing the lead roofing from their Newton Abbot offices in the early hours of Friday morning. 

The thieves visited 13 Market Street twice before they stole the thick lead panels, backing their white van into position at about 1.55 am, when Bar 7 was still busy and Newton Abbot’s nightlife was in full swing. 

The lead roof is worth several thousand pounds and is over 100 years old. 

The thieves were clearly prepared and organised in the operation, smashing the safety lights and destroying the guttering before removing the entire roof in just a few minutes, provided they hadn’t already removed the roof on one of their previous visits.

Mr Clive Morgan, from Rendells, said: ‘We found out Friday morning that the lead roof had been stripped from the back of the office, which surprised me. 

‘I didn’t know it was worth too much but apparently it still is these days. We had to get it covered over, tell the insurers and tell the police who are currently looking into it. 

‘The video footage from CCTV shows it was taken by people in a white van. They visited once, then came back again, and then on the third time they backed a van into a spot behind the building, took the lead and off they went. It was quite an organised affair.’

A spokesperson for the police said: 'Police are investigating a reports of theft after lead was stolen from a roof in Market Street, Newton Abbot, which happened overnight on Thursday 28 September going into Friday 29 September.'

If you have any information about the thefts, or saw anything that evening, contact the police on 101 or crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or crimestoppers-uk.org.