Thievery and church roofs

The Church of England has been experiencing a rash of property crimes against some of its most expensive assets – its oldest buildings. Thieves have been nicking off with the lead from the roofs of parish churches, abbeys and cathedrals across the country.

So, to limit the ability the thieves have to get money for the lead their stealing from scrap dealers, the roofs are being painted with a special paint containing special micro particles. Each roof gets a paint with a unique chemical signature.

Tracking the lead becomes a simple matter and should stop the lucrative trade that thieves have been taking advantage of recently.

It’s not a trivial problem:

“Church insiders say the financial impact of such thefts has been severe. Individual insurance claims often exceed £100,000, despite the value of the lead stolen being a fraction of that, because of the further damage done by thieves as they rip off the metal.

The demand for scrap is driven by world prices. Those for lead and copper soared to record levels last year with scrap lead peaking at £1,300 a ton. Metal prices fell when the recession hit, but are now picking up again strongly.

Most churches are insured by Ecclesiastical Insurance, which is so concerned at the losses that it recently sent every church a SmartWater kit and warned vicars and bishops it would pay out no more than £5,000 if they failed to use it on their roofs.

A spokesman for Ecclesiastical Insurance said metal theft had become the number one reason for claims.”

Read the full article here.

Posted by

Comment Policy
Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted. We also ask that you limit your comments to no more than four comments per story per day.

  1. John B. Chilton

    Hence the title of this blog? (The Lead?)

  2. John B. Chilton

    Ecclesial Insurance is running an “ecclesial deficit.”

    I believe we have traced the origination of the term, and it has nothing to do with church polity.

  3. At least in England the thieves are only taking small parts of the building. (So far.)

Comments are closed.