Metal theft: churches urged to review security

ByDave Hall

Metal theft: churches urged to review security

Churches across the UK are being urged to take steps to prevent metal theft following a spate of incidents.

The warning comes from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical following theft of lead from the roof of churches in Bath, including All Saints Church in Weston, which was targeted multiple times in one month.

High demand for copper and lead, driven by an increase in metal prices, saw several churches affected by theft in the first quarter of 2023. Ecclesiastical, exhibitors at CRE Midlands 23, are urging churches across the country to carry out reviews of their security arrangements as a result of the recent increase.

Roof alarms have been proven to especially deter criminals. Other measures such as installing additional lighting to increase surveillance levels, use of anti-climb paint and CCTV can help deter thefts. Making life difficult for metal thieves by removing easy means of access onto roofs, such as waters butts, benches, bins and ladders.

Some churches and heritage properties that have been victims of metal theft incidents have replaced stolen materials with alternatives, such as stainless steel, which are less appealing to criminals.

The insurer requires customers to have security marking systems such as SmartWater, which has been proven to help with successful prosecution of metal thieves, in place as part of its policy and for policy conditions to be followed.

Jo Whyman, risk management director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: ‘Theft of metal can have a devastating impact on churches. It is critically important the right cover is in place. We’re urging churches across the country take steps to protect themselves and follow our guidance which is available through our website. We will be at CRE Midlands 23 to advise churches on a personal level.’

Ecclesiastical are on stand P29 at CRE Midlands 2023

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