Thieves strip lead from roofs in raid on listed homes in Angel
4am drama as police with helicopter chase two men
17 May, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
Michael Read in Milner Square: ‘It’s unbelievable’
“DARING” thieves stripped lead off Victorian houses in a Grade II-listed square this week.
Residents of Milner Square were “terrified” when about 20 police officers and a helicopter descended on Angel chasing two men who had spent hours removing lead from their roofs.
Hulya Sevik woke up and looked out her window at about 4am on Monday when she heard banging and was surprised to see two men climbing up and down scaffolding outside.
She said: “I was so shocked. I did not know what to think. One man was at the bottom and another man was on the roof. They passed the lead down by a rope.”
When police arrived, the man on the ground ran off while the second man dashed across the roof.
Police rushed up to a flat in the middle of the square to gain access to the roof.
The resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “My son woke us up. He said he thought there was a helicopter outside. We told him to keep quiet and go back to bed.
“Then police came banging on our door. I’ve never been so terrified. It was nuts. They were banging on the door then they had to rush in.”
Residents believe a man on the roof was arrested.
The Tribune asked police to confirm this but had not received a response at the time of going to press.
One resident said: “It’s a daring move, to be fair to them, but it doesn’t make any sense to me. I’d understand if it was gold or something.
“I looked up how much you can get for lead online and it’s about £1.50 a kilo. They are going to need a lot of lead to make this worth it.”
A letter was distributed by Partners for Improvement, which manages the properties for Islington Council.
It says: “The thieves successfully removed all lead to the front parapet wall along 29-47 Milner Square before being disturbed.
“The roofs are therefore currently at risk of water penetration.”
The letter added: “All costs are insurable and will not be recharged to leaseholders.”
Another Milner Square resident, Michael Read, said: “What on earth can be the mentality of someone doing this? It really is unbelievable.”
Partners had not responded yesterday (Thursday) to requests for a comment.
A spokeswoman for JTC Roofing Contractors said: “With the economy the way it is, thieves are getting a little more resourceful and a little more brazen, stealing things that you might not have thought possible. For instance, your lead roofing.
“Regardless of it being firmly nailed down, with the price of metals going up, thieves have found a way to turn your lead into their gold.”
To protect properties from lead theft, JTC recommends removing anything that would give thieves easy access to the roof.