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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 08:42 GMT
Churches to tackle metal thefts
Lead roof
SmartWater will be painted on church roofs
The theft of metal from churches in the West Midlands has resulted in a huge increase in insurance claims.

In the Lichfield Diocese, the number of claims is up three-fold this year from 24 to 72.

The thefts are usually of lead from roofs, flashing, copper piping and lightning conductors.

Churches are now introducing SmartWater, pioneered by a Telford firm, which is a marking paint that could deter thieves.

The regional diocesan insurance claims for 2007, up to the beginning of November, are:

  • Wolverhampton, 15 claims totalling 56,000;

  • Walsall, 14 claims totalling 40,000;

  • Stoke-on-Trent, 15 claims totalling 31,000;
Nationally, Ecclesiastical Insurance received more than 1,800 claims from Anglican churches this year at a cost of nearly 5.8m for the theft mainly of lead from roofs.

The Holy Trinity Church in Heath Town, Wolverhampton, has been targeted seven times, said church spokesman Gavin Drake.

He said the thieves had used scaffolding put up to repair the church to get back on to the roof and steal more lead.

SmartWater is being sent to every Anglican church covered by Ecclesiastical Insurance, totalling more than 16,500 churches.

Smart Water indelibly marks objects making them easily identifiable

Churches to tackle metal thefts
12 Nov 07 |  England
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15 Oct 07 |  Shropshire
Arrests top 250 over metal thefts
10 Oct 07 |  West Midlands
Raids leave church with huge bill
01 May 07 |  West Midlands

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