In the Media

Summit on theft from north's church roofs

PUBLISHED November 10, 2011

Recession has brought higher metal prices and theft into a dangerous combination Talking of the church and crime, as the Northerner just has been , there's an interesting conference coming up in Leeds. Yet another unhappy effect of the recession is the rise in metal prices which is working with economic hardship to increase that old menace, theft from church roofs. The Northerner has followed this for several years and it remains a serious problem, with centuries of beauty and craftsmanship at risk because of the trust and open-ness on which churches have so long relied. The scrap industry does its best ? I had their rules well-explained to me when I did a Radio 4 programme on the subject. But there are far too many outlets for thieves to use for a quick sale; and when you see the mountains of scrap metal bound for China at Newport docks in south Wales ? they dwarf anything Dickens imagined in Our Mutual Friend ? you can see the market's scale of demand. So the Ripon and Leeds diocese is hoping for a good turnout on Wednesday 16 November at the diocesan office in St Mary's Street, Leeds, for a meeting on Protecting your church from metal theft. There'll be crime reduction officers there, a rep from Ecclesiastical Insurance and an historic buildings architect from English Heritage. Alice Ullathorne, the diocese's church building support officer, says: The continuing theft of metal from churches is a huge concern, not just for the congregations themselves but for insurers, police and heritage bodies and by bringing everyone together for this important meeting we hope that we can work together more closely to beat this menace. Churches and others interested in taking part should contact her at or phone 0113 2000544 Anglicanism Religion Crime Prisons and probation Recycling Heritage Leeds Martin Wainwright © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds