Criminals “Bite Off More Than They Can Chew” In Lincolnshire Church Lead Theft

Thieves who struck at a Lincolnshire church and stripped lead from its roof may have bitten off more than they can chew.

In the process the theives smashed historic stained glass windows at the church.(Pictured)

The metal on the roof of St Peter and St Paul’s, in Algakirk, has been protected by a revolutionary security system – Trace-in-Metal - that cannot even be destroyed in the smelting processes.

The Trace-in-Metal process sees thousands of microdots infused into lead sheets “marking” them with a unique identifying code.

In addition to being impregnated into the metal, the dots – which are almost invisible to the naked eye - are also painted on to each sheet using an all-weather lacquer that shows up under ultra-violet light.

Trace-in-Metal Managing Director John Minary said: “St Peter and St Paul’s Church was one of six in Lincolnshire that has been protected by the Trace-in-Metal process, as part of a series of pilot installations being undertaken at rural churches in conjunction with Diocese of Lincoln.“The thieves have clearly failed to realise that this lead has been specially protected, and our system has now made it too hot to handle.

“The nickel dots impregnated into the metal and coated on to its surface cannot be destroyed, and, importantly, it will be traced back to its source of origin. In this case it’s St Peter and St Paul’s Church.

“Word is spreading around local scrap dealers, and I know for a fact they are keeping their eyes open for anyone trying to offload this stolen lead.”Mr Minary, a former police detective, added: “Metal theft is big business and is estimated to be costing the UK economy around £220 million a year. Trace-in-Metal is one way that the owners of buildings with lead roofs can fight back.”

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Lincolnshire Police on 101, or, alternatively, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.