Four lead thefts in Crewkerne and East Chinnock areas – Somerset

From the Somerset County Gazette

(Pictured: All Saints Church, Merriott, hit on 14th March by lead theives.)

LEAD thieves have recently targeted four buildings in Somerset.  Police are asking people to be vigilant in the Crewkerne and East Chinnock areas after a number of incidents.  Since March 14 there have been four cases where lead has been taken from four buildings, including a church, causing extensive damage to the properties.

PC Chris Purcell said: “Lead used to be an attractive commodity to thieves due to its high value.

"But since legislation changes in relation to cashless payments and a national operation to tackle metal theft, such incidents have dramatically reduced, with figures dropping by over 50 per cent in Avon and Somerset.

“However, we have seen a localised spike in the last month and are appealing for information following thefts in Orchard Lane, Crewkerne, on the April 24; High Street, East Chinnock, on April 21; Easthams Road, Crewkerne, on March 23; and All Saints Church, Merriott, on March 14.

“Did you see anything? Are you a scrap dealer that has been offered large amounts of lead flashing? If you can help us with our enquiries please contact me via the 101 number.”

If you have information, call PC Purcell and quote the following reference numbers: 5217090421- Orchard Lane, Crewkerne 24/04/2017; 5217088329 - High St, East Chinnock 21/04/2017; 5217065970 - Easthams Road, Crewkerne 23/03/2017; 5217056763 - All Saints Church, Merriott 14/03/2017.

St Margaret’s Church in Witton near North Walsham the latest to be targeted by lead thieves - 4 Norfolk Churches Attacked.

From the Eastern Daily Press - (Pictured: St Mary's, Baconsthorpe - £40,000 of damage.)

UPDATED: 17.05.17. EAST WINCH nr KINGS LYNN - 12th May 2017

Lead thieves strip roof from church at East Winch, near King’s Lynn A parish church in East Winch is the latest to be targeted by lead thieves after many others have been left to deal with the damage across the region. The valuable metal had been stripped from the roof of All Saints Church, in Church Lane, leaving part of the roof open to the elements.

The theft is thought to have occurred in the early hours of Friday, May 12, after a nearby resident reportedly heard a loud bang at around 12.20am, thought to be the lead being dropped to the ground.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A village church near North Walsham is the latest victim of lead thieves. Police are appealing for information after lead was stolen from a church roof in Witton near North Walsham. Thieves targeted St Margaret’s Church between midnight and 5am on Saturday, May 6 and stole a large quantity of lead.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity between the times stated to contact them. More than 40 churches in Norfolk and Suffolk have been targeted by lead thieves in recent years.

Thieves stripped up to six tons of lead from the roof of a church in St Mary’s Church in Baconsthorpe, near Holt, just hours before a funeral service, and then returned to complete the job last month. The culprits, who caused approximately £40,000 worth of damage, first struck in the early hours of the morning on March 3 and then again sometime between Wednesday and Friday, April 26 and 28.

And St John the Baptist Church in Coltishall was also hit last month. The EDP has been campaigning to stop roof raiders destroying our sacred church heritage. Along with our sister paper the East Anglian Daily Times, we announced a substantial reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who target churches in the region.

And we also called on members of the public to do their bit in the fight against the ongoing problem.We published posters for people to put up across Norfolk and Suffolk warning thieves that the community is watching.

The campaign has been backed by church leaders including the Bishop of Norwich and Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, and Norfolk and Suffolk’s police and crime commissioners. Various businesses and individuals also pledged money to the campaign.

Anyone who may have any information about the Witton incident should contact North Walsham Police Station on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Said Trace-in-Metal MD John Minary, "These are devestaing attacks. Each one represents damage striking at the core of communities, many not able to recover. Its not just about the financial costs of repair, although that is significant in itself. The very fabric of our heritage is at stake here."

He continued, "The summer months see a rise in this offending, This spring has seen a rise in the number of offences across the country, something has to change, or else these attacks will continue and more communities will suffer."

"The Scrap Metal Dealers Act has not prevented these crimes, existing systems are not working, Trace-in-Metal brings a new, revelotionary approach."

Ten Reasons why Trace-in-Metal is the “Complete Solution”:

  1. Tiny nickel microdots are fused with the lead, using Trace-in-Metal’s patented ballistic technology and virtually undetectable by thieves.
  2. Trace-in-Metal Ltd provide the means for refiners and the police to be able to recover and easily read the micro-dots.
  3. Trace-in-Metal microdots survive melting so that refiners and smelters can recover and read the microdots even after the lead has been melted down.
  4. To assist police, Trace-in-Metal microdots are also painted onto the surface of each sheet of lead using an all-weather lacquer that shows under ultraviolet light.
  5. A weather-resistant UV marker is also used to mark the premises’ post code.
  6. Trace-in-Metal’s in-house database securely records codes against installation locations allowing stolen metal to be traced back to source.
  7. Deterrent signage informs thieves of the risk of taking the metal from Trace-in-Metal premises.
  8. Trace-in-Metal provides police compliant witness statements and advice on victim impact statements.
  9. Automatic alerts to local neighbourhood policing teams and licensed scrap metal dealers follow each Trace-in-Metal installation using social networks and cascading emails.
  10. Trace-in-Metal’s unique technology provides local police and enforcement agencies with a quick and easy means of tracing metal back to source.