Lead Thefts from churches

Suffolk Police wish to advise that thieves are continuing to target lead roofing on churches in East Anglia. In the past week four churches in Norfolk have struck by offenders, with the most recent offence being recorded in Quidenham, near Thetford, on the evening of the 3rd April.

Measures that can be taken to protect church roofs include the following:

Security marking with an approved DNA liquid

Specialist roof alarm systems

Replacement of lead with alternative materials

Lead Security Fixings

If your church roof lead is marked with a forensic security product (e.g. Smartwater or Selecta DNA), we suggest that large areas of the roof are treated, and that the appropriate warning signage is clearly and prominently displayed. A small or faded sign, displayed in an area of the church where a potential offender would not necessarily see at it night, is not going to be an effective deterrent.

It is also worth noting that Historic England (formally known as English Heritage) is now more flexible when it comes to replacing roof coverings and will often approve a lead replacement product that looks and ages as lead does, but has nil scrap value. If your church does use such a product, it’s wise to put up signage to this effect to educate any potential offender (however one touch will show him/her that it is not lead).

Any suspicious activity around your church at night should be promptly notified to Police. Always call 999 if you believe a crime is in progress, or otherwise 101 for non-urgent matters.

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