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Lead thieves target Lincolnshire churches

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Police have appealed for anyone with information to come forward following a series of lead thefts from churches across Lincolnshire.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: "We received five reports of thefts between September 21 and September 24.

"These were at: St Mary’s Church, Main Street, Wilsford; St Mary and All Saints Church, Swarby; St Andrews Church, Kelby; an outbuilding at a property on Main Street, Wilsford; and St Mary’s Church, Creeton Road, Swinstead.

"These incidents, and another between September 3 and September 6 at St Andrew’s Church, Irnham, are all being linked."

Detective Inspector Jon Shield said the theft could cost churches "hundreds of thousands of pounds".

“Aside from the loss of the lead, damage caused can often mean that water gets into the church itself and damage the interior.

“This is heritage crime and I don’t want to see an increase in this type of offence.

“I would urge people, especially in rural locations, to be extra vigilant.

"We need the help of the public with this type of investigation so please report any suspicious activity to us.

“We take these crimes very seriously and will do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice.”

Police said there were several measures that could be taken to increase security, including:

- Make sure that gates cannot be lifted from their hinges, and ensure they are locked at night;

- Keep trees well pruned, with branches taken up to around 2.5m to help with natural surveillance;

- Install a roof alarm;

- Apply anti-climb paint;

- Make regular checks of the roof;

- Ensure any tools and machinery in outbuildings are securely locked and properly marked;

- Install low-level lighting for use between dusk and dawn; and

- Cut back foliage around church doors.

For further advice about security, contact Sally Picker on 07867 936487.

Anyone with information about the lead thefts should contact Lincolnshire Police on 101 or can email force.control@lincs.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111.

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