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Ecclesiastical Insurance, the UK’s leading church insurance company, has received more than 300 claims for theft of external metals from churches over the past 12 months*.

The thefts of lead, copper and other metals – from roofs, guttering and lightning conductors – are prompted by the rising price of these materials.

It’s not just the cost of replacing the materials that is the problem, thieves have also torn holes in roofs causing them to leak and ripped stonework away from pinnacles and towers. Yet the thieves get a fraction of the cost for scrap.

John Coates, Ecclesiastical’s Church Insurance Manager, said: “We highlighted this problem last year in an effort to stop the problem, but it only seems to be getting worse. We don’t insist on costly anti-theft measures, but in some cases they are the last defence we have. The real solution is for communities to rally round their churches, keeping an eye out and refusing to let thieves steal from under our noses.”

He offers this important advice for churches to prevent theft of metals:

• Make friends with your neighbours – they’re the very best people to keep an eye out.

• Consider anti-climb paint**, CCTV, intruder alarms or security lighting if your church is particularly at risk.

• Restrict vehicle access and remove ladders – make the thieves’ job harder.

• Where possible, replace with less expensive materials to make sure there’s no incentive for the thieves to re-visit (The replacement of stolen roof material will require faculty approval. A change of materials may also require consultation with English Heritage on a listed church building, and planning permission if it affects the external appearance.)

For more information or advice on church and cathedral insurance, readers can contact their local Ecclesiastical insurance surveyor by calling 0845 777 3322.

For further information please contact:

Chris Pitt, PR Manager, Ecclesiastical Insurance Group
Tel: 01452 334984
Mobile 07730 068821
Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ.

Notes to editors:

*These figures are taken from Anglican churches Ecclesiastical insures.
**Anti-climb paint should only be used over two metres in height and warning notices should be displayed.

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