Be alert: Increase in roof metal theft

Published: Tuesday April 14, 2020

A churchWe are aware that cases of metal theft have been reported again. As such. we ask that you report all identified metal theft attempts to the Police, your Archdeacon and DAC Secretary Adam Klups, including the failed ones. When contacting the police it is important to emphasise the loss or damage to heritage caused by the crime in addition to the value of the stolen metal. Sentences for heritage crime offences are longer than for ordinary theft or loss of property.

Alas this has remained a problem during these extraordinary times therefore we ask churchwardens and clergy to be extra vigilant at this time. Please consider undertaking your daily exercise/walk past the church and if you notice any suspicious activity, in or around the church building, bring the matter to the attention of the police.

Please ensure that access to church roofs is restricted. Make sure that ladders are stored out of sight and locked away, if possible. Double check that access to roofs from the inside of your church is disabled to unauthorised persons. Please carry out a visual inspection of your metal roofs regularly to prevent any rainwater damage. Sometimes thefts go unnoticed for days or weeks. Bear in mind that thieves do not only target large metal roof sheets found on nave roofs, but also lead flashings, lead gutters and smaller roofs, such as turret roofs. Copper roofs are just as vulnerable. Remember that metal theft may not be instantly obvious, but its consequences for the church fabric could be catastrophic.

If your church has a metal roof, please familiarise yourself with the recently updated guidance on metal theft from historic buildings by Historic England, available here

If you have any specific concerns about the security of your metal roofs, please contact your Church Insurer. Please note that if your insurance cover is with Ecclesiastical they will only offer you unlimited cover for theft of metal claims if you have a roof alarm and SmartWater applied. Installing a roof alarm is a List B matter and can be authorised by your Archdeacon. If you are unsure about the details of your policy and your church has a metal roof, please contact your insurer to stay up to date with their current requirements.

Guidance from Ecclesiastical, including a list of approved roof alarm suppliers can be found here:

Information on what the National Church is doing to prevent metal theft can be accessed here:


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