Wells police and churches tackling metal theft

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By Wells_Jaqui | Monday, August 06, 2012, 09:15

Police held their first meeting at The Old Deanery, Wells last Tuesday where members of the Mendip beat team gave presentations to representatives of over 40 churches in the Somerset area. 

The meeting was called as part of the Constabulary's ongoing work to tackle metal theft and in direct response to four recent incidents of theft from churches in the Mendip area.

Nick Denison, Diocesan Secretary, said: "The theft of metal from churches, and particularly the theft of lead from church roofs, is a very serious problem for us. Sometimes the theft can go un-noticed for several days; often the first sign that the lead has gone is water dripping through the roof, with all the resultant damage that can be caused to the fabric of the building.

"The police recognise that the theft of metal from churches is a crime which affects the whole community and we are grateful that they are so resolved to catch and prosecute those responsible." 

Estimated to cost the UK approximately £1billion a year, metal theft is increasing nationally due to the global rise in metal prices, resulting in inconvenience and expense to thousands of people and in some cases causing risk to life.

Crime prevention methods, insurance issues and potential changes to legislation were covered during the morning and a question and answer session was also held allowing members of the local churches to pose questions to the police. 

PC Whatley commented:" Police and our partners are proactively targeting metal thieves and those that handle stolen goods. But we need the public to continue to be our eyes and ears and help us protect our community buildings.

"If you live near a church please be watchful for people acting suspiciously – particularly if they have lorries or trucks nearby, or vehicles that seem to be driving up and down without obvious cause." 

If you see anyone, including workmen, working on churches or community buildings at any time of the day or night, please contact your local police who will confirm whether they are legitimate. A high-vis' vest doesn't mean they should necessarily be there! Those with a legitimate reason or purpose will not mind confirming who they are and what they are doing.

If you see people acting suspiciously near a church please call police on 999 if you believe a theft is in progress.

If you would like further crime prevention advice, please contact you local beat team on 101. If you have information about illegal activities in your area, you can either contact your local policing team by calling 101 or you can report it online by visiting www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

Alternatively you can call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org. They never ask for your name or trace your call. 



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