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Man arrested after lead stolen from roof of Whitaker Museum in Rossendale

A man has been arrested after a large amount of lead was stolen from the roof of an East Lancashire museum.

On Friday July 2, officers were made aware of a burglary at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery on Haslingden Road in Rossendale.

Following investigations, in the early hours of Wednesday morning a man was arrested in connection with the burglary and theft offences and will have his case referred to the CPS.

A spokesperson for the police said: “In the early hours of this morning officers from Rossendale’s Rural Task Force have arrested another male who was wanted in connection with a high value burglary and theft from Whitaker Park Museum on Haslingden Road that occurred in the early hours of Friday July 2, where a large amount of lead was removed from the roof.

“The male will now be interviewed in relation to the incident before the case is referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.”

The Whitaker is set to reopen on Saturday after a £2.2million redevelopment.

Museum bosses says that the investment, including grants from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, has enabled a full refurbishment, additional exhibition space and new visitor facilities.

When it re-opens its doors at the weekend, having had to close during the pandemic, The Whitaker will have a new café-restaurant, event and community space, and catering kitchen to support future hospitality events.

Speaking last week, managing director Carl Bell said: “We have certainly missed welcoming visitors to The Whitaker Museum and cannot wait to unveil our fantastic new facilities and enhanced exhibition programme.

“The Whitaker has always been such a special place, built on the foundations of our region’s industrial past and gifted to the people of Rossendale in 1902. This refurbishment will provide a renewed space for visitors to imagine, explore and unwind.”

The museum has also launched a crowdfunding appeal to ensure they are able to continue and maintain the high quality exhibitions and leisure and educational events well into the future.

The police spokesperson continued: “The price of lead and copper has risen over the last few years meaning that our heritage buildings are often targeted by criminals for theft of these materials.

“Sadly this makes these buildings extremely vulnerable to heritage based crimes/incidents such as this one.

“If you witness any suspicious activity around any of our heritage sites, please contact us on 101 or via our online reporting system.

“If you see a crime in progress, please dial 999 straight away.”

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