Crime commissioner backs church roof lead theft appeal with £10,000

PUBLISHED: 12:25 25 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:02 25 October 2017

ALARM: A church roof plundered by lead thieves

ALARM: A church roof plundered by lead thieves

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Specialist roof alarms on churches will help deter lead thieves and protect important historic buildings, Cambridgeshire’s police and crime commissioner has said.

Commissioner Jason Ablewhite has offered £10,000 to an appeal by the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust to fit the alarms in a bid to prevent them becoming crime targets.

Churches across the county have been hit by thieves seeking the valuable metal, leaving repair bills running into tens of thousands of pounds and buildings open to further weather damage.

Mr Ablewhite said: “I am extremely pleased to offer this grant to the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust to aid in protecting valuable heritage sites across Cambridgeshire.

“Measures such as installing specialist alarms will help protect the lead roofs of churches which have been prime targets of thieves in recent years resulting in damage to historic buildings and distress to local communities.”

Mr Ablewhite said: “The constabulary remains committed to these sorts of heritage and rural crimes.

“The Rural Crime Action Team have my full support in continuing to respond to these issues and offer a strong deterrent in preventing attack or stopping offenders taking the lead.”

The trust is about half way through a programme for fitting the alarms to between 50 and 60 buildings.

Denis Payne, appeal secretary, said: “We feel it is tremendously important. These churches are an important part off the community and are something we should be looking after to pass on for the future.”

He said the alarms cost about £5,000 each and the aim was to pay for half the cost to the church.

Mr Payne said the appeal was becoming more urgent as a key area of funding only ran to the end of the year and every donation of £1,500 would help fund another alarm and protect a church.

Mr Payne said they would be “most grateful” for any support and that he can be contacted on 07450 850970 or at chctappealsec@gmail.com.

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