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Thieves target churches for roof metal

30 March 2011 No Comment

Criminals have targeted a 120-year-old church as a spate of metal roofing thefts spread across the UK, reports Wales Online.

When Father Dean Atkins arrived at St Saviours Church in Cardiff, he found the porch and roof had been stripped. Three rolls of lead lay in the path, where the thieves had clearly been interrupted.

st-saviours-church Image source

Specialist insurers have said that metal thefts are the most serious crime epidemic that churches has ever faced – the Church in Wales said they were fighting a 325 per cent increase in the number of incidences and insurance claims have quadrupled.

Additionally, it is proving harder to insure churches, with cover being restricted, says Materials Recycling Week, from unlimited amounts to just £25,000. Insurers now need to establish how much metal is on the church roof before offering a policy.

The problem has been exaggerated by high global metal prices.

Churches are being encouraged to fit alarm systems, reports The Echo, following the lead of a vicar from Great Burstead who wrestled a thief who he caught red handed, stealing metal from the roof of his church.

The crook nevertheless got away with £200 of lead from an extension that had only just been replaced after a previous theft.

Acting Detective Inspector Alan Blakesley said: “Police are working closely with local scrap dealers to ensure these thieves do not have anywhere local to sell on their loot.”

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