THIEVES have damaged a church after stripping lead from the same spot for the second time in 18 months.
The criminals clambered onto the roof of the church hall at Mount Methodist Church on Moorlands Road and took the lead from a gully.
The theft follows the high-profile case at St John the Evangelist Church at Birkby.
There, lead thieves brought the top of the 180ft steeple – thought to be the highest in the Wakefield Diocese – crashing down last month.
The Mount Methodist worshippers realised the full extent of the problem when water started to pour in during last Sunday morning’s service.
Thieves caused similar damage 18 months before, when lead was taken from the same spot.
The gully directs water from the roof into the gutters. But once the lead had gone there was a half-inch gap which let the water pour in.
This time it brought down part of the ceiling and also damaged the wooden floor and carpet.
The repairs will cost an estimated £1,500 and the roof was due to be made watertight again.
Church steward Ken Ball said: "I suspected something was wrong on Friday when I noticed a leak. But water began to pour in on Sunday morning.
"The water came into the side rooms and the main floor in the church hall.’’
Ironically, the worshippers have a major fundraising appeal going on to replace the church roof.
The congregation needs £16,000 to replace the rubber membrane on its church roof with the latest waterproof felt and the work is booked for next summer.
The church hall was the original Mount Methodist Church built in around 1913. That became the church hall when the new church was built next door in 1971.
About 30 people worship there every Sunday morning at 10.45am.
There are also 6pm services on the first and third Sundays every month.
The most dramatic lead theft impact happened at St John’s Church on St John’s Road, Birkby, early on July 24.
Thieves caused ten of thousands of pounds damage after bringing the top of the steeple crashing down.
This left a huge hole in the church roof and other holes where falling stones had shot straight through.
Police believe the gang tied a rope to the copper lightning conductor which they wrapped around an iron railing near the church door.
They tied the other end of the rope to the car and drove off, hoping to pull the copper part down. But they ended up bringing the top of the steeple down instead.