A church in England is reeling after thieves posing as tradesmen apparently stripped its lead roof bare, the Huffington Post reports. The brazen heist was spotted Tuesday when a cleaner saw daylight peeking through the roof of All Saints Church in Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire. Church officials say the thieves carted off nearly 20 tons of metal that could cost $130,000 to replace. "It's just sheer greed isn't it?" says Helen Mudd, a church member and wife of Gary Mudd, the church council's chairman. "...It's a Grade I-listed building so we have to use like-for-like materials and whatever we repair it with, it's not going to be cheap. Fundraising just can't keep up with the demands of a building like that."
A police inspector says he suspects the thieves took a long time to carry out the lead piece by piece, Yahoo News reports. "Due to the sheer quantity of lead taken, it's unlikely that it happened over a few days," says Inspector Nick Masters. "It's likely that the people responsible were driving trucks or vans so they could transport scaffolding or ladders in order to access the roof of the church, and may have posed as tradesmen." Police are asking locals to help by providing CCTV footage or eyewitness accounts of suspicious activity. Meanwhile, the 14th-century church went ahead with its wedding and harvest festival this weekend, per the BBC. "I feel stunned," says Gary Mudd. "The morals of the thieves are appalling." (Read more church stories.)