Churches get tips to beat the thieves

Stripped: Lead is stolen from a church roof

Stripped: Lead is stolen from a church roof

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Churches are being encouraged to always report church crime - including metal theft - to police.

The Church of England in Lancashire says police have issued a number of handy tips to help churches to reduce metal theft.

Just last spring, churches in Chorley found themselves under attack from vandals, with religious leaders warning the cost of repairing the damage was draining much-needed church funds.

Vandals smashed windows and sprayed graffiti at several church in the town.

Police advice includes:

Report suspicious activity around buildings. If a crime is in progress ring 999. Other incidents can be reported on the 101 non-emergency number.

Avoid leaving anything lying around that could be used to help a thief eg ladders.

Make it difficult for thieves to move stolen goods by storing wheelbarrows and wheelie bins securely.

Consider anti-vandal paint and property marking.

Use alternative materials to lead for any repairs - to reduce the risk of becoming a target for thieves.

Regularly check your roofs so that any theft is found before it rains and further damage is caused.

Consider installing security lighting, particularly at roof level where metal roof coverings are present.

Fr Edmund Straszak, of All Saints’, Moor Road, Chorley, said after his church had been targeted: “We’ve got lots of problems with vandals and have had something damaged almost every week for the past 11 years.”