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/ 31 October 2012

Church support for Scrap Metal Dealers Bill

Church of England bishops are calling on MPs to support the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill on 9 November.

The epidemic of metal theft continues to plague churches, war memorials, schools, heritage properties, rail and utility services and even hospitals across the UK.

According to figures from Ecclesiastical Insurance, tt has cost £27m to repair the nearly 11,000 cases of criminal damage inflicted on England’s churches alone since 2007.

The Bishop of London has written to the MPs representing the Diocese asking for their support for the bill:

"Lead theft has had a devastating impact on England’s churches. The casual way in which a stripped church roof can be sold for cash with no questions asked has led to serious damage to our church buildings. The Church of England is convinced that the measures in Richard Ottaway’s Bill will make a real difference in combating this dreadful crime."

Bishops are supporting senior Conservative backbencher Richard Ottaway’s Scrap Metal Dealers Bill. The Bill has its remaining stages in the House of Commons on Friday, 9 November and seeks to licence all scrap metal dealers, verify the identity of all those selling metal and for all those cashless transactions to be recorded. If passed by MPs the bill will progress to the House of Lords.

While precautions including wireless roof security systems and metal marking systems like SmartWater offer some deterrent to the thefts, the isolated location of many churches make them tempting targets for criminals. The proposed new legislation will fairly regulate the scrap metal industry and act as a significant deterrent to continuing metal theft.

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The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.

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