Stephen Armson-Smith of the, Crime Prevention Tactical Adviser at Braintree and Uttlesford has offered an update on its recent ‘virtual’ conference on the ‘theft of metals from heritage properties’.
image: for illustration purposes only
…part of the National Metal and Waste Crime Week of Action…
…theft of metal from historic church buildings is serious and organised crime…
Stephen Armson-Smith writes:
On 14 October 2020 Essex Police – on behalf of Essex and Kent Heritage Watches – hosted a virtual conference focusing on the theft of metals from heritage properties, predominantly focusing on roofing.
The conference was part of the National Metal and Waste Crime Week of Action and although planned as local event for those who had heritage properties and/or responsibility for their upkeep it attracted over 50 delegates from as far afield as Cumbria and Avon and Somerset. The delegates came from a variety of walks of life such as Police Designing out Crime Officers, church building representatives, museums service, building developers, local authorities and conservation officers.
The conference saw presentations on crime prevention, heritage watch schemes, Insurance from Ecclesiastical Insurance, property marking from Trace in Metal and SmartWater, roof top alarms from Brook Security, Alternatives to lead roofing: Historic England’s advice, and a closing presentation from Mark Harrison Head of Heritage Crime Strategy at Historic England.
Mark Harrison said: ‘The theft of metal from historic church buildings is serious and organised crime. Removing large areas of lead or copper from roofs has not just a serious financial effect on church communities, but a huge effect on their morale.’
‘The metal stolen will have both historic and cultural value and removing it leads to irreparable damage to protected historic sites and buildings, which is why tackling this problem is so important.’
‘At Historic England we are working with partners to assess the scale of the metal theft problem across the country and develop a coordinated national approach to protect those churches at the highest risk of crime’.
See more IHBC NewsBlogs on metal theft, and more