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  1. ITV Report

Church lead thefts: What's being done to tackle the problem?

  • Watch: ITV News Meridian's Chloe Oliver reports on what is being done to tackle church lead thefts

With the price of lead at an all-time high, the National Crime Agency says it is driving a spate of thefts across the South.

As a result, churches across the South are facing repair bills of tens of thousands of pounds because of lead thieves.

In part two of our spotlight on this issue, ITV News Meridian's Chloe Oliver has been looking at what is being done to try and stop it.

The contents of this skip could sell for a more than £1000. Credit: ITV Meridian

Scrap metal yards are following strict legal guidelines to make sure they are not trading stolen goods.

Kristian Guyatt from Guyatt's Metal Merchants in Salisbury says: "Everybody that comes in, we take their vehicle registration, we scan their photo driving licence or passport, we take a description of the scrap, the weight, and everyone that comes into our yard is on camera."

229
thefts from churches in Dorset between 2017-2019
16
lead thefts from churches in Wiltshire between 2017-2019
33
lead thefts from churches in Sussex between 2017-2019
The Archdeacon of Salisbury says there's been an unprecedented amount of thefts. Credit: ITV Meridian

The Archdeacon of Salisbury, The Ven Alan Jeans, says an unprecedented amount of thefts have happened recently.

He says: "People can now look at google maps see if there is any lead on church roofs, they can use drones to do a survey before they come in. I suspect the tech has made it easier for thieves to identify which church buildings are going to be easier to take the church roof from."

Credit: ITV Meridian

Meanwhile, Wiltshire Police have a dedicated team dealing with the crime and is urging churches to install CCTV to help tackle the problem.

Inspector Liz Coles says: "We're asking people to know where their local churches are, know the people around, and if you see something that just looks unfamiliar, or you see people around , things as simple as a ladder being left up against which wouldn't normally be there, that's what we're asking people to look out for: those things that stick out and are unfamiliar."