New scheme to protect Rutland churches from metal thefts

Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, PC Paul Le Pla and Neighbourhood Link coordinator Ron Simpson at the launch of Church Watch
Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, PC Paul Le Pla and Neighbourhood Link coordinator Ron Simpson at the launch of Church Watch
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A new scheme to protect churches was launched on Monday (31 October).

In the last two years there have been eight lead thefts in Rutland but PC Paul Le Pla wants to prevent any more thefts from taking place.

He said: “Surrounding forces have had a significant increase in the theft of lead from churches and we are starting Church Watch to tackle the problem and stop it spreading into Rutland.”

All 54 parishes in the county have signed up to the watch which is co-ordinated online through the Neighbourhood Link website. As soon as a theft is reported a message is sent out to all of the other churches warning them.

Churchwardens, vicars and people who live within view of a church have been given leaflets advising them to keep a lookout for thieves.

Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, of All Saints’ Church in Oakham and the surrounding villages said: “Churches are at the heart of communities and when lead is stolen there are huge financial implications.

“Some lead thefts have cost up to £30,000 which for a small parish is horrendous.”

Last month Saint Mary the Virgin church in Church Lane, Edith Weston, were targeted by thieves. Police believe the thieves in Edith Weston were scared off by Army patrols in the village.

St Peter and St Paul Church in Teigh Road, Market Overton, was not so fortunate and thieves caused £20,000 damage.

To join Neighbourhood Link sing up by visiting www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk