A SCHEME that was introduced to tackle church lead thefts in Rutland has proven to be a big success.
Church Watch was launched by police nine months ago and since its introduction there has not been a single incident of lead theft from a church in the county.
In the last two years, only eight churches in Rutland have had metal and lead stolen from their roofs but neighbouring forces have seen a significant increase in lead thefts.
Officers launched a Church Watch scheme for the county in October last year to ensure the problem did not spread.
The scheme works by encouraging everyone who lives close to a church to look out for suspicious behaviour and report anything that seems untoward.
Every church was visited by police and risk assessed with crime prevention advice given.
Police have also added every church in the county to the community messaging system Neighbourhood Link.
They can send up to date and localised crime prevention information and timely warnings about suspicious activity in the area.
PC Paul Le Pla, who has set up the scheme, said; “I am obviously delighted that we haven’t had any church related crime in Rutland since last October.
“I am convinced this is due in part to the vigilance of people living and working around our places of worship who are playing a more active role in protecting their community.
“Not only have we seen an increase in information coming into us from the community, we have reacted quickly to those reports and it’s clear that is having an effect in stopping our places of worship becoming a target.
“The scheme has also helped to reduce the fear of crime and develop better communication between us and local churches.”
Residents can also sign up to Neighbourhood Link.
For more information or to sign up visit www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk, or contact PC 1146 Le Pla on 101, and when prompted type in 1146 and leave a message.