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More than £250,000 needed for alarms for Norfolk's churches

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Published by KLFM
11:45am 3rd August 2017. (Updated at 11:53am 3rd August 2017)

Alarms could be installed on all churches across West Norfolk.

A campaign to raise more than £250,000 has been started by Norfolk Police today.

The aim is to alarm 200 churches, and replace lead roofs that have been damaged.

Three to five churches are targeted every month for lead theft.

To combat the threat and protect these community spaces, the Bishop of Norwich, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, the Norfolk Churches Trust, Allchurches Trust and the Round Tower Churches Society have been working together to find a long term solution and have created The Roof Alarm Scheme. Lorne Green, Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk said:

My blood boils whenever I hear a church has been targeted. That is why I said enough is enough and started the ball rolling on this working partnership, committing a substantial amount of ‘seed money’ to get it underway. These are such senseless crimes against our shared heritage. Churches are places of worship and historic and architectural gems; they are often also the beating heart of our communities serving as community hubs. We are only custodians of these wonderful buildings, which belong not only to this area but the world. We are taking action to stop the scourge of lead thefts and this cowardly and mindless desecration of our local heritage.”

Ian Lonsdale, Chairman of the Norfolk Churches Trust said:

“Norfolk features the largest cluster of medieval churches in the world. Many of these churches are at risk because of ongoing lead thefts, which have a detrimental impact on many levels.  It effects the structural integrity of the building and as a result possibly puts internationally important works of art at risk.  It also has an effect at a human level as many of the community are emotionally attached to the building and its artefacts, and the need to both manage the immediate impact of the theft and then raise funds to carry out the repairs is beyond the ability of many on their own. 

These lead thefts are putting our heritage at risk so need to be countered. The best way of achieving this is through the installation of an alarm system.  The Norfolk Churches Trust is delighted to be working proactively and collaboratively to achieve its core aim of protecting churches for this and future generations to enjoy.”

Without an alarm approved by insurers, many church buildings are not fully insured and parishes do not receive sufficient insurance to cover repairs if there is any damage or theft.

The Bishop of Norwich and the Police Crime Commissioner are asking if the public might consider contributing to install alarms on other churches by donating to the Raise the Alarm campaign.

To donate to the Raise the Alarm campaign click here. 

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