A seminar will be taking place at Althorp House tomorrow (Thursday) to help reduce the number of lead thefts from churches in Northamptonshire.
In the last three months, there have been four incidents in Northamptonshire where churches have had large portions of their roofs stolen, leaving huge damage to the fabric of the buildings as well as a hefty bill to replace the lead and make repairs.
In the vast majority of cases insurance companies will not pay the total cost of repairing and replacing roofs, which leaves churches with the task of paying for the work themselves.
Between nine and 12 tonnes of lead was stolen from the roof of St Marys Church, Great Brington, in August and lead lead worth £12,000 was stolen from St Andrews in Arthingworth last month.
The removal of the lead let water into the church, which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to a Victorian organ.
The seminar will be hosted jointly by The Archdeacon of Northampton, The Ven Richard Ormston and Northamptonshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable, Andy Frost and will provide an update on the current situation regarding thefts from churches across the county, as well as useful information to help churches to protect themselves.
Sergeant Sam Dobbs, from Daventry, has organised the event. He said: “We are finding that offenders are becoming more technologically savvy when it comes to stealing lead roofs, including the use of drones, which is why it is important churches do all they can to protect these historic buildings.
“These crimes don’t just result in the theft of the lead, but damage to masonry, guttering, water damage inside the church and in one case, the destruction of the church organ.
“Many of our churches are in rural locations, so it is important that as much crime prevention advice as possible is followed, along with awareness raising for those people who live near churches, so they can be confident to report any suspicious activity to us.”
Anyone who does spot people acting suspiciously in rural areas or near churches can call police on 101 or 999 if a crime is taking place.