A bishop has blasted “deplorable” thieves after an Angus church was targeted following a six-figure revamp.
Police are investigating after security lights were stolen from the roof of St Mary’s Church, which is Kirriemuir’s only Grade A listed building.
The lights had been put in place earlier this year at the West Hillbank building following a previous attempt to remove lead from the roof.
The earlier £250,000 project involved urgent roof and masonry repairs as well as internal work to restore the building to its former glory, as intended by Comper.
The Rt Rev Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane said: “It is very sad that St Mary’s Episcopal Church has suffered this theft, not only because it is such a beautiful and significant part of the heritage of Kirriemuir and Angus, and so much effort has gone into restoring it, but also because it takes away from everything the congregation is trying to do for the community of Kirriemuir.
“The Church deplores crimes of theft, but also the deprivation that may drive some people to commit them.
“Despite this recent setback, St Mary’s will continue to be a sign of Christian hope and compassion for the people of Kirriemuir, offering a place of prayer and compassion to the whole community.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland is investigating a theft from the roof of St Marys Church, West Hillbank, Kirriemuir, about 10.20pm on Saturday May 11.
“Two spotlights were stolen from the church roof.
“Two men were seen by a witness to be near the lights about that time, however we do not have any further description of them available.
“If you have any information that can assist our investigation, please call 101.”
St Mary’s Church was constructed from 1903 to replace an earlier Classical-style church which was destroyed by fire.
The church was designed by Sir J. Ninian Comper whose work can be seen the length of Britain, from Shetland to Westminster Abbey, where his ashes are interred beneath windows he had designed.
Sir J. Ninian Comper was knighted by George Vl in 1950 and St Mary’s is significant as Comper’s only complete church in Scotland.
The church is believed to have undergone renovation in the 1940s and it has a window dedicated to Peter Pan author JM Barrie’s family.
The church was repaired in 2001 before the urgent £250,000 project was completed in 2017 thanks to a joint grant of £191,200 by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.
There were also several generous grants from trusts as well as a legacy from Alison Prain, a local teacher who was a lifelong supporter of the church.