Brazen thieves have struck twice in a week badly damaging Windsor's prized Garrison Church and leaving it in possible financial crisis.

They struck first at Holy Trinity Garrison Church in Claremont Road on Sunday, October 23, stripping the lead off the roof. Unbelievably, they then returned a week later to steal the rest.

Churchwarden Steve Holton said: “Our congregation and our community were completely devastated by the first theft and then to be targeted again, probably by the same perpetrators in seven days has left us total shock.”

To add to the misery damage caused by the theft brought down a ceiling inside the church causing chaos and threatening future services.

Mr Holton said that volunteers rallied round to clear away the debris and the church will continue with all its services and meetings by organisations, although a Pop-Up Restaurant evening had to be postponed.

Importantly the Garrison Remembrance Sunday service next week will go ahead unaffected.

The church is insured and a loss adjuster has visited. But insurers have recently tightened up of restrictions regarding cover for lead theft and it is believed the damage is not fully covered.

This means the church may have to interrupt fund raising to create a community garden and memorial to the 53 soldiers of the Household Division who died in Iraq and Afghanistan - concentrating instead on paying for damage repair.

Brandon Mudditt, the church's treasurer, said that the first theft was not discovered until three days after it had happened, when part of the ceiling fell in the church's Mountbatten Room.

He said: "We believe that the thieves threw the lead down from the upper roof to a lower roof before it ended up in their van and it weakened it, causing the collapse days later. We are just grateful it happened overnight - we often have toddlers in there. Thank heavens we had dry weather for those few days or the rain would have come in and the damage been much worse"

Holy Trinity Church is the only Parish and Garrison Church in the United Kingdom and was built in 1844 to serve the spiritual needs of the soldiers quartered in the Windsor barracks and the surrounding community. It was specifically dedicated to the Household Division, the elite troops of the British Army who protect the Sovereign.

The Household Cavalry is based at nearby Combermere Barracks in St Leonard's Road.

An on-line donation can be made via the Church’s Facebook Page ‘Holy Trinity Garrison Church Windsor’.

Police are investigating the thefts. Anyone who could help is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.