A dramatic fall in the number of insurance claims for the theft of lead and other valuable metals from Anglican churches has been reported by leading church insurer Ecclesiastical. The drop in thefts comes in the aftermath of Ecclesiastical’s campaign to fit alarms to church roofs across the country, Hands Off Our Church Roofs.
This year, between January and the end of July, the company received just over 650 claims compared with more than 1,600 over the same period in 2011 – a reduction of 60%.
The reduction in thefts appears to affect the entire country including central London, where, by the end of August this year, claims had reached 20% of 2011’s total volume.
Since the campaign’s launch, alarms have been fitted in over 20 Anglican dioceses across the country with hundreds of churches now alarmed in England, Scotland and Wales. However, many more churches are now displaying signage that highlights the presence of alarms to deter thieves.
Hands Off Our Church Roofs, which launched in February, aims to see sophisticated electronic alarm systems installed on the roofs of Anglican churches in 42 mainland English dioceses and a number of alarms in Scotland and Wales. Ecclesiastical launched the campaign by providing £500,000 to install alarms free of charge on some of the country’s most badly-affected churches. The campaign was triggered by the dramatic escalation of metal theft since 2006 and the fact that in 2011, an average of seven churches a day were falling victim to metal theft attacks†.
John Coates, Ecclesiastical’s director of church insurance said: “While it’s not possible to say precisely how much of an impact our roof alarms campaign has played in this reduction, it’s certainly a contributory factor and these figures are a very welcome trend.