The Countryside Alliance has released it’s annual report into crimes on churches and religious buildings in the UK. The report shows 20,000 crimes had been committed on or at churches and religious buildings in just over 2 years.
Crimes committed include lead and metal thefts, general thefts, vandalism, arson or criminal damage.
The report shows that across Yorkshire there were 303 cases of lead, metal and general theft and 256 of criminal damage.
Churches are particularly vulnerable to lead, copper and metal theft, which can have a devastating effect causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage. Because many roofs are not visible from the ground the damage caused by a theft can remain undetected for some time and can lead to major problems with water ingress to the building.
Lockdown and reduced capacity services has led to a significant loss of income for many churches , making it very difficult to keep on top of urgent repairs.
90 places of worship across the UK are being added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register with almost half included because of the impact of crime such as lead theft.
Thinking outside the box
This is Money recently reported that some 100 churches across the UK have opened up their car parks to help raise funds for church upkeep and security.
St Wilfrid’s Church’s based in Harrogate is one of the churches who have opened their car park for public use. Their facilities and commercial manager, Rebecca Oliver, said: ‘The parking income helps to support the running costs of the church, which as a Grade I listed building are significant.’
As well as a good way to raise money, a busy car park can also be a deterrent to criminals, giving the appearance of increased activity and physical presence at the church.
Mo Metcalf-Fisher of the Countryside Alliance said: ‘The latest set of figures, out only a year after the incredibly distressing numbers in 2019, make for horrific reading.
Read the Countryside Alliance full report herehttps://www.countryside-alliance.org/news/2020/10/special-report-into-crimes-against-churches-and-re?utm_campaign=1583066_23%2F10%2F20%20Newsletter&utm_medium=dotmailer&utm_source=Countryside%20Alliance&dm_i=44G9,XXI2,1MIMZ5,47YF3,1