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Reducing thefts of metal from churches

Ecclesiastical Insurance is supporting a petition to the Home Office to amend the law about Scrap Metal merchants

Metal theft is a significant and increasing problem in the UK. Since the start of 2007 Ecclestiastical Insurance has received more than 8000 claims for metal theft, at an estimated total cost of more than £23 million. Lead, copper and stainless steel roof coverings, roof flashings, copper lightning conductors and lead rainwater pipes have all been targeted. Whilst world demand for metal remains strong their scrap value will continue to be high, making them an attractive target for thieves, and churches will continue to face this problem for the foreseeable future.

Historically the scrap metal trade has been a cash in hand industry. This creates difficulties as there is no audit trail, making identification of individuals who may be trading stolen metal or who may be committing tax or benefits fraud a difficult proposition.

An amendment to the Scrap Metal Merchants Act 1964 to prohibit cash transactions would make payment by cheque or directly into a bank account mandatory and could be a significant component in reducing metal theft.

Ecclesiastical Insurance is supporting a petition calling for this amendment, which you can sign on the government's e-petitions website.

Find more information about the work Ecclesiastical is doing to prevent metal theft.

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