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Following a theft of lead from the roof of St John’s in Upper Norwood, The Revd Beverley Mason has decided to erect signs to warn the thieves off and encourage locals to tip off the church if they see anything suspicious.

The four-and-a-half foot signs – which were produced with the help of the church’s insurer Ecclesiastical – will be positioned around the church in prominent places.

The lead theft from St John’s is likely to cost several thousand pounds, and is just one of 1,000 church insurance claims Ecclesiastical Insurance has received from churches all over the country this year.

London is a particularly hard-hit area, with over 60 claims from the Southwark and London dioceses costing nearly £200,000. Churches in South-East London alone have suffered 20 claims costing nearly £45,000 this year.
The Rev Beverley Mason said: “We refuse to stand by while these thieves get away with it. So we’re doing something about it, and with the help of the local community we’re confident we can keep our church safe.”
Head of church insurance at Ecclesiastical John Coates said: “The theft of metal from churches has rapidly turned into an epidemic. We simply can’t let it continue. We don’t insist churches invest in 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. The new signs at St John’s are a great example of a simple idea which will have a big effect.”

For further information please contact:

Chris Pitt, PR Manager, Ecclesiastical Insurance
Tel: 01452 334984
Mobile 07730 068821
Email: pressoffice@eigmail.com
Visit www.ecclesiastical.com
Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

About Ecclesiastical
Ecclesiastical is a specialist insurer of charities, education (from nurseries to universities), the care sector, churches and historic buildings.

Founded in 1887 to provide insurance for the Anglican Church, it now offers a wide range of commercial and home insurances, selling through brokers and direct. Our Dublin office has been open since 1980 when Ecclesiastical was appointed by the Church of Ireland as their faith insurer, including their involvement with the national education system. We moved into commercial risks in 1983 and have had direct representation in Northern Ireland since 1986.

Our operations in Ireland are now on an all-Ireland basis with the exception of some Northern Ireland servicing and support coming from the UK at least until the end of 2007.

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