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Norfolk churches fight back against lead thieves

PUBLISHED: 08:55 26 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:56 26 December 2017

Det Con Andy Brown, The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Lorne Green and The Rev Canon Tony Billett. Picture: Diocese of Norwich.

Det Con Andy Brown, The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Lorne Green and The Rev Canon Tony Billett. Picture: Diocese of Norwich.

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Leaders at churches which have benefitted from a scheme aimed at protecting them from roof raiders have urged others to seek help.

A campaign to safeguard the future of churches in Norfolk has been launched as part of the Raise the Alarm campaign, which is seeking to equip the most vulnerable churches in the county with alarm systems.

The scheme, which is spearheaded by Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner Lorne Green and supported by the Bishop of Norwich and a number of other charities, has already received £250,000, which includes £100,000 from the PCC’s office.

One of the churches to have so far benefited is St Mary’s Church, Sedgeford.

The Rev Peter Cook, vicar of the church, said: “With the installation of a roof alarm, much of that worry has been lifted from us.

“The scheme is a fantastic effort of cooperation between the Diocese of Norwich, the Police and Crime Commissioner and other partners.

“Our church is now protected by an alarm and our lead is now 100pc insured. We are, of course, all very grateful to all involved and hope that more dioceses and their local constabularies can adopt this amazing initiative, so that lead theft can finally be stopped both here in Norfolk and beyond.”

Another church to have been protected is St Nicholas Church in Dersingham.

The Rev Mark Capron, rector of the church, said: “It is exciting that the number of worshippers here is growing and we are looking at how we can offer a space for people who are lonely.

“This is why we were very relieved when we had an alarm fitted. It gives everyone at the church and in the village peace of mind.

“We can continue to be a place of worship, welcome and hospitality and not worry about how we would replace the roof if anything ever happened.”

Support for the scheme came as The Rev Alan Elkins said a roof alarm fitted at a church in Wells alerted police to an attempted theft earlier this month.

Two men were arrested on suspicion of theft.

■ To report suspicious activity please call 101 or if you see a crime in progress please call 999.

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