Anti-vandal barriers planned to beat lead thieves at Hucknall Library

10-2584-1''Hucknall Library.
10-2584-1''Hucknall Library.

SECURITY is being stepped up at Hucknall Library in a bid to stop thieves stripping away valuable lead and damaging the historic building, the Dispatch can reveal.

Officers at Ashfield District Council were expected this week to rubberstamp a planning application for increased anti-vandalism measures at the back of the Market Place venue.

The action is in response to reports of raiders climbing on to the top of the grade-two listed building and stealing flashings.

Notts County Council, which owns the library, wants to instal metal strips that spin on a rotating bar to prevent trespassers from clambering on to the roof.

Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of Notts County Council, condemned the thieves, especially at a time when cuts are being made in public spending.

“For people to go around destroying libraries is unacceptable,” he said.

“Money spent on repairs and dealing with damage is money that could be spent elsewhere.”

In the summer of 2009, thieves climbed up drain pipes and on to the top of the library to steal lead. The material has an inflated worth on the back of an increase in the value of scrap metal in recent years.

After the initial theft at the library, the lead was replaced. But it has since been stolen for a second time.

The latest attack caused several of the roof tiles to slip out of position which, in turn, caused leaks inside the building. Repairs were made as part of an upgrade for the library last year.

Now the county council wants to instal extra barriers to stop vandals scaling the library. The measure would add to similar anti-vandal barriers already in place.

Dozens of buildings in the Dispatch district and across Nottinghamshire have been targeted in recent years in a nationwide explosion in the theft of lead.

St Peter and St Paul’s Church on Ruffs Drive, Hucknall was hit so often that members felt the building was being used as a “cash machine” by the vandals.

Hucknall Parish Church, which is only metres away from the library, St Michael’s Church in Linby and buildings in Newstead have also been attacked.

Anyone who spots vandalism or raiders climbing on to the roof of the library or any other building in Hucknall is asked to call 999 in an emergency or ring the police on 0300 3009999.

If you have information on lead thieves, you can also contact the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.