Metal theft is on the rise

Metal theft is becoming a big problem, particularly with thieves targeting lead from our church roofs.

Rev Sue Lucas from St Faiths, Crosby spoke to us about a recent lead theft incident in order to highlight this issue and to help their Christian brothers and sisters become more aware:

"St Faiths is a church at the heart of the community, it is located on a busy main road and we had taken all reasonable precautions including the use of smart water and it still happened to us. It is obvious that whoever is behind these thefts are very well organised and so it is important for the community to be extra vigilant, particularly on these light nights in the middle of summer." 

Ian Simpson, Heritage Support Officer, explains the extent of the problem and what practical steps you can take to help prevent your church being targeted:

Lead is an integral part of the church roof, its removal can lead to consequential damage through water ingress and the costs involved in repairing this – scaffolding etc. Not only this, additional damage to the building can be caused by the act of removing the metal and by the thieves’ attempts to access and escape from the building in the process of committing the crime. It is possible that considerable damage may be caused even if no metal is taken.

This cost can run into thousands of pounds worth of damage, of which insurance does not completely cover, often only the first £5,000. Typically repair bills can be in excess of £10,000 with one particular example of a bill for £40,000! The impact of these crippling costs can cause considerable disruption to the life of the church and a serious setback to the congregation. 

The good news is that we are fighting back. Ian has produced a booklet, approved by The Liverpool Diocese Advisory Committee, containing practical steps you can take to help protect your church. The download is available to the right of this article.

The most important steps are free and simple to implement:

• Be vigilant – encourage people in the community to report any suspicious activity around the church.

• Don’t leave ladders, bins or anything else near to the building for potential thieves to climb upon.

Read the booklet for more information on additional steps that can be taken, including installing roof alarms which have proven to be effective.