Insurer urges churches to be on guard after thieves jailed for spate of metal thefts

Ecclesiastical Insurance has encouraged wardens to protect their premises after a targeted campaign caused over £2m in damage to remote countryside churches.

Four men were sentenced to a total of 19 years in prison following the crime spree, which saw lead removed from the roofs of more than 20 churches.

Jo Whyman, risk management director at Ecclesiastical, said: “We’re pleased that this prosecution has been successful and hope it serves as a deterrent to would be criminals. This is a timely reminder that the theft of metal is an ongoing issue and the knock-on effects can be huge.

“There is a risk that the continuing economic downturn in the UK could see an increase in theft of metal from buildings such as churches, which is why it is vital that they take steps to protect their premises from unscrupulous offenders.”

She added: “In many cases lead is stripped without churches knowing which leads to further issues with water ingress into the exposed roof, causing even more damage than the theft itself and preventing churchgoers from attending which can be devastating.

“By taking steps now, churches can deter would be thieves and help to protect themselves. Our teams are on hand to help, with more resources available through our website.”

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