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More than 70 churches protected against lead thieves a year after launch of new roof alarm campaign

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 August 2018

The congregation at St Nicholas Church, Dersingham, have reason to be thankful for the Roof Alarm Scheme. Credit: Diocese of Norwich.

The congregation at St Nicholas Church, Dersingham, have reason to be thankful for the Roof Alarm Scheme. Credit: Diocese of Norwich.

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Scores of churches have been protected against the threat of roof raiders a year after the launch of a new campaign backed by the Eastern Daily Press.

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More than 70 Norfolk churches have now been fitted with alarms as part of the Roof Alarm Scheme brought in 12 months ago to try and defend these magnificent buildings and bring an end to the pain caused by lead thefts.

More than £250,000 was raised through a partnership between the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James; Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green; Allchurches Trust; the Norfolk Churches Trust and the Round Tower Churches Society.

It had been hoped that 50 alarms could be installed on church buildings in the county, but with the public digging deep into their pockets to help provide more than £20,000 more, it has meant more than 70 alarms have now been installed on churches across the county.

Bishop Graham said: “Thanks to the generosity of our partners and the public we are thrilled that we have been able to exceed our original target.

“We estimate that if lead had been stolen from all the churches that your generous donations have been able to protect it would have cost around £2.5 million pounds.

“We hope that we can continue to install more alarms on churches so that we can protect these wonderful community spaces for people now and in the future.”

One of the churches to have so far been protected as part of the scheme is St Mary’s Church, Sedgeford.

The Rev Peter Cook, who has hailed the Raise the Alarm scheme as an “amazing initiative”, said the installation of an alarm had lifted the burden of worry from them.

He said: “Our church is protected by an alarm and our lead is now 100 per cent insured.

“We are, of course, all very grateful to all involved and hope that more Dioceses and local constabularies can adopt this amazing initiative, so that lead theft can finally be stopped everywhere.”

Money so far raised includes £100,0000 from the PCC, £50,000 each from the Bishop of Norwich, the Allchurches Trust and the Norfolk Churches Trust and £2,500 from the Round Tower Churches Society.

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