ICMIF member, Ecclesiastical, has launched a national campaign to try to save thousands of churches across Britain from damage by criminals stealing lead from their roofs. The campaign ‘Hands Off Our Church Roofs’ aims to see sophisticated electronic alarm systems installed on the roofs of Anglican churches across the country. Ecclesiastical is a leading church and heritage insurer and the organisation is investing £500,000 of its own money to install roof alarms free of charge on some of the country’s most badly affected churches.
John Coates, Ecclesiastical’s director of church insurance said: “The attack on Britain’s churches has reached catastrophic proportions and we simply have to do something about it. Every day an average of seven churches are targeted by criminals, who see them as easy pickings. This campaign will ensure they won’t be easy anymore”.
The first stage of the campaign is for Ecclesiastical to fit alarms free of charge to the most at-risk churches in the country. The locations of these churches will remain secret which will create a deterrent as all churches in the area will display signage to say that they are protected.
Stage two will require other churches to purchase their own alarm systems (with public support) and thus ensure that churches are as hard a target as possible for metal thieves.
Ecclesiastical has already piloted the use of roof alarms in more than 100 churches over the last few years. The insurer’s experience has shown that where roof alarms have been fitted, metal thefts have reduced significantly or stopped completely.
In addition to roof alarms, Ecclesiastical has also helped churches fight metal theft by providing them with free SmartWater forensic marker liquid, which is applied to the metal so that it can be traced. The insurer also gives detailed risk management advice and has also been involved in lobbying Government for a tightening up of the laws relating to the sale of scrap metal.
Ecclesiastical are celebrating their 125th anniversary this year. The organisation was established in 1887 to protect the Anglican Church and remains committed to doing this today. Over the years Ecclesiastical has grown to provide tailored insurance solutions for organisations and people who care – such as charities and heritage property owners. You can read more about Ecclesiastical’s history at their website.