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Church arson image.jpg
Jason Kay / Alamy Stock Photo
Church arson image.jpg
Jason Kay / Alamy Stock Photo
UK News

Insurance company issues warning as rise in church arsons predicted

by Sophie Drew

A faith-based insurance company is urging churches to protect themselves against potential arson attacks. 

The warning comes after a church in Sheffield was believed to have been set ablaze on the 4th of July. 

The South Yorkshire building was rendered unusable by the fire; the church has been forced to explore alternative places to gather in the meantime.

Ecclesiastical Insurance has warned churches that arson attacks occur more frequently in the summer months. 

Despite a drop during the pandemic, claims data from the company shows that over 150 churches in the UK have suffered similar attacks over the past five years, causing millions of pounds worth of damage. 

Jo Whyman, risk management director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Our data shows that arson seems to be on the increase again and the impact of these attacks can be truly devastating.

“It’s horrible to see churches damaged as a result of a fire – particularly at the hands of criminals. These buildings are part of the fabric of our society, at the heart of our communities, and have been for centuries. Senseless acts by individuals not only destroy bricks and mortar, but often priceless artefacts that have historical significance to our nation.”

Helen Richards, Chief Operations Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, suggested some ways to alleviate the risk, saying: “Moving bins away from the premises and storing them securely so that they can't be used to start a fire, regular inspections, keeping the church secure. 

“Lots of lots of different things can be done that don't require a lot of money that can really make a difference to prevent fire taking hold on the church.”

The company has also suggested installing fire alarms, intruder alarms and CCTV, and consistently checking your fire extinguishers. 

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