RISCA’S St John’s Ambulance members were left “devastated” after thieves stripped the lead flashing from their hall’s roof for the fifth time in less than a year.

Caretaker Jamie Arr, 21, arrived at the Tredegar Terrace hall on Friday morning to find broken tiles on the floor, felt ripped out from the roof and the lead missing.

Ironically, he had arrived to discuss the possibility of installing CCTV cameras with a local tradesman, before finding the scene of devastation.

Mr Arr, of Risca, believed the damage to have taken place sometime after 10.30pm, as the St John’s volunteers held a meeting earlier that evening.

The latest incident is the fifth time the hall has been targeted since last July, with nearly £2,000 of damage caused each time.

The group had received a £30,000 grant from Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO) before a new central heating system and roof was provided for the 80 year old hall.

Following the fourth theft at the end of February, the volunteers were given funding of approximately £3000 for a 6ft fence to be built around the premises, but the thieves did not let it stand in their way.

Treasurer David Terrell, 67, alos of Risca, said that other community groups use the hall, such as the Cadets and the Fusion dance group and that they were “lucky enough” to get the grant for the roof in the first place.

“They’ve really gone to town on it this time. If the builder has to take the whole roof off it could cost in excess of £3,000 I would have thought,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said they are investigating the incident and would appeal for anyone with information to call Gwent Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.