Leicestershire Police advise churches on lead theft prevention

Churches in Leicestershire are being given advice on how to prevent lead thefts by police at a one-day seminar.

According to Leicestershire Police, between October 2010 and September 2011 there were 83 reports of lead being stolen from churches in the county.

English Heritage, Crimestoppers and ecclesiastical insurance companies will be giving presentations on the day.

The seminar is taking place at St Mary's Church in Melton Mowbray on Wednesday.

Organiser PC Mick Kaiser from Leicestershire Police said: "The increase in incidents is the result of a number of things.

"One is the high value of scrap metal, as much as £6,000 for a tonne of copper and £1,800 for a tonne of lead.

"To tackle the problem we need to work in partnership with others... we need people living near churches to be our eyes and ears and we are setting up church watch schemes too."

Hard-hit communities

PC Kaiser said the cost of lead stolen from churches in England last year reached £26m.

The Reverend Kevin Ashby, area dean, said: "Lead theft is financially crippling many congregations in both rural and urban parishes.

"The pockets of chuchgoers and local communities are being hit very hard.

"It's only a matter of time before some churches will have to close due to insufficient funding for repairs."

The seminar will run from 13:00 to 16:00 GMT.

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