THOUSANDS of pounds worth of damage was caused to the Newbridge Memo after thieves stripped lead from its roof, letting in torrential rain to flood the building.

The theft on Tuesday night led to the roof above the coffee bar and kitchen falling in, with water pouring down stairs and leaving the room under an inch of water.

Around 12 volunteers spent Wednesday morning mopping up, but members now face a race against time to redecorate and repair the area before its Christmas fair on Saturday.

Lead was taken from a 30 square feet area of roof and Memo chairman Howard Stone estimates it will cost thousands to seal it, as well as redecorating the coffee bar and kitchen.

The thefts came at a particularly bad time as heavy rain hit South Wales on Tuesday night. The Met Office estimates between 30 and 40 millimetres fell in the area overnight.

What has left Mr Stone even more frustrated is the fact that the Memo’s insurance policy doesn’t cover lead taken from the roof.

The money will, therefore, have to come from funds raised for a restoration project on the building.

Around £4.1 million has been secured from bodies like CADW, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Assembly Government for restoration work on the grade two listed Memo and adjoining Institute.

The work will cost £5.6 million in total and money to repair the roof and coffee bar will come from £40,000 raised by locals towards this.

Mr Stone said: "Attacking a project run by volunteers is a sad reflection on the morons in society. So many people give their time and energy here and it is really frustrating someone would do this."

The Memo was also the victim of lead thefts in March and July, while thieves broke in over the weekend, stealing £3,000 worth of disco equipment from the premises.

The thefts were reported to the police.