Generous roofer steps in to help charity rocked by lead theft

Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat stations where the lead has been stolen.
Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat stations where the lead has been stolen.
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A generous roofer has stepped forward to help a lifesaving charity rocked by thieves.

Officials at Cullercoats RNLI were left furious after metal thieves stripped lead from the roof of the historic boathouse, leaving them with an estimate £3,000 repair bill.

But after seeing the incident on social media, Shaun Brunton has offered to replace and repair the roof for free as his donation to the charity.

Initial work is currently being done on the station’s bell tower to see if it can be brought back into use, and it is believed that thieves took advantage of the scaffolding to climb up and steal the lead between 8pm last Friday and 8am on Sunday.

Shaun, who runs Indigo Northern Ltd with business partner Lee Maddison, said: “A couple of people who saw it on social media contacted me to see if I could help, as I specialise in heritage work.

“The RNLI and Air Ambulance are my preferred charities, so I went down to see the lifeboat crew and offered my services. I would like to do it for them.

“I said as a gesture of good will to the RNLI, I would reinstate it and put it back to the way it was. I’ve started looking at old pictures and put it back to the way it was originally.

“It will save them money, that could be used for other things.”

Shaun, who was born and bred in North Shields and now lives in Monkseaton, set up the company in 2004 and includes Newcastle University, Ministry of Defence, Network Rail, health groups and police among its customers.

He added: “I’ll replace the lead once the work on the bell tower is complete, so the scaffolding can be brought down to stop anyone else climbing up there.”

Michael Scott, of Cullercoats RNLI, said: “The work presently being undertaken around the Bell Tower is to have preparatory and repair work done.

“We are looking to have the Bell Tower restored to its former state with the bell, hopefully, functioning in the future.

“The theft of the lead is frustrating and annoying as it only delays the work and adds extra cost to the project.

“Estimates of replacing the lead are between £2 and £3,000, money that could be used to Saving Lives at Sea.

“People fund-raise for the Lifeboat and donate generously in good faith.

“All the crew are exasperated and angry by this act of theft as they feel fundraising should be used for lifesaving purposes rather than unnecessary repairs due to mindless thieves”

Police are appealing for anyone with information about the theft.

Neighbourhood Inspector Neil Armsworth said: “We’re asking for help from the community to find those responsible for this theft.

“The RNLI are a charity who rely on volunteers giving up their time to help others and donations of cash from the public in order to carry out their work which saves lives at sea here in North Tyneside. It’s really disappointing that thieves would target a charity in this way.

“If anyone has information about this theft and knows who is responsible then I’d ask them to call the police.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 261 of 22/08/15, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.