BRAZEN thieves caused hundreds of pounds' damage by ripping lead from a listed building in broad daylight.
The crooks stripped the porch roof of a 200-year-old North Road cottage early last Friday morning, loading it into a waiting car while owners David and Jean Lincoln slept inside.
Mr Lincoln, 66, said: "I just couldn't get over the shock.
"The brazenness of being able to stand right in front of someone's house and rip the lead off like that. It's a small porch, so the metal was probably only worth £20-30 but the damage they've caused will probably cost £2-300 to repair."
Grandfather-of-one Mr Lincoln explained that the missing metal was a decorative strip about three feet long, with scalloped edges and that its removal had damaged the inside as well as the outside of the porch.
He said: "I was absolutely gobsmacked that someone had done that amount of damage for that little gain. They'll probably only get a tenner for it from a dealer, whereas although our insurance will cover the damage, we'll have to pay the excess.
"If I met those responsible, I'd just ask them why they did it. What gave them the right to do that to someone else's property – would they like it if I stole their iPods or mobiles?
"This is a very old house, in a conservation area – that roof's been there all these years but now someone's just walked past, clocked it and decided to take it. The cheek of them is unbelievable."
A spokesman for police confirmed that the matter was being investigated and urged anyone with information to call officers on 101.