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Help us to put a stop to ‘cowardly desecration’ of our local church heritage

PUBLISHED: 09:42 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:52 03 August 2017

The aftermath of lead theft at Baconsthorpe Church: Pictures: Corinne Youngs

The aftermath of lead theft at Baconsthorpe Church: Pictures: Corinne Youngs

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Help stop the church roof raiders - that is the desperate plea today from our community leaders.

Lead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Corinne YoungsLead theft at Baconsthorpe church: Pictures: Corinne Youngs

Churches across Norfolk have been suffering from a sustained spate of lead thefts with, on average, three to five buildings targeted every month.

But today, following the launch of a campaign spearheaded by Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) and supported by the Bishop of Norwich and a number of other charities, it is hoped the threat can be stopped.

The Roof Alarm Scheme, which is backed by this paper as part of our own Stop The Roof Raiders campaign launched last year, has already received £250,000, which includes £100,000 from the PCC’s office.

It is hoped this cash can boost security at more than 50 of the county’s most vulnerable churches.

However, from today, the aim is for the public to help raise an extra £300,000 for alarms, which cost between £2,000 and £5,000 each, to be placed at even more of Norfolk’s 650 churches.

Mr Green said: “My blood boils whenever I hear a church has been targeted. That’s why I said enough is enough and started the ball rolling on this working partnership, committing a substantial amount of ‘seed money’ to get it underway.

“These are such senseless crimes against our shared heritage. Churches are places of worship and historic and architectural gems; they are often also the beating heart of our communities serving as community hubs. We are only custodians of these wonderful buildings, which belong not only to this area but the world. We are taking action to stop the scourge of lead thefts and this cowardly and mindless desecration of our local heritage.”

The Rt Revd Graham James, who has pledged £50,000, said: “The landscape of Norfolk would be spiritually flattened if we lost our wealth of medieval churches. They are better cared for than ever thanks to volunteers who worship in them regularly, raise money for the fabric and cherish these buildings.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich, The Rt. Revd. Graham James unveils the new information board at the ruins of st Margaret's Church, Hopton-on-Sea. Pictures: MICK HOWESThe Lord Bishop of Norwich, The Rt. Revd. Graham James unveils the new information board at the ruins of st Margaret's Church, Hopton-on-Sea. Pictures: MICK HOWES

“But they are under threat from lead thieves who damage the fabric, leave havoc in their wake and cause those who care so well for our churches to feel dejected and dispirited.”

The Norfolk Churches Trust, Allchurches Trust and the Round Tower Churches Society have also already pledged money to the scheme.


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