In England gangs of thieves are making off with the roofs of Churches which are often made of lead because scrap metal brings in a lot of money. Many parishes would like to replace them with cheaper, less valuable material but are prevented by rules governing historic churches in Britain.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports in the Sunday Telegraph:
Thousands of churches have been targeted by gangs over the past year, with more than £1 million worth of metal stolen every month.
The thieves strip lead from the roofs, which they can sell to scrap dealers, cashing in on high metal prices.
Many churches have been targeted repeatedly and now want to stop replacing the stolen lead and start using cheaper alternatives, like stainless steel, felt or tiles, which would be less tempting to thieves.
However, many have been stopped from doing so by English Heritage which has insisted they continue to use the more traditional - and more lucrative - lead.
Some churches have been left with gaping holes in their roofs while planning disputes drag on over what building materials can be used to repair them.
The Rt Rev Nick Baines, the Bishop of Croydon, said: "Anglican churches are facing the greatest threat of attack in their history.
English Heritage have to give greater attention to the real issues faced by parishes and not just see this simply as a case of preserving museums.
Read the rest here.
Besides historically high metals prices, another contributing factor is the economic slowdown in the UK.