THIEVES created a “terrible mess” when they stripped lead from St Teilo’s Church in Llantilio Pertholey, allowing rainwater to pour into the church below.

The theft was discovered on Thursday evening, but Father Julian Gray said the thieves could have struck at any point in the last week or so.

“Water was pouring in, as if somebody had opened a huge tap on the roof,” he said.

This is the second time lead thieves have targeted the church, and Fr Gray said the police had been informed.

A local builder patched up the roof, which will be repaired with a lead substitute this week.

And the mess didn’t prevent church life continuing as usual.

“Our wonderful team got the church ready for a wedding on Saturday, looking as beautiful and clean as it always does,” Fr Gray said. “We didn’t let it beat us.”