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Emma Blount/St Martin's Church
UK News

Stained glass under threat as church theft reaches record levels

Churches have seen a 75 per cent increase in heritage crime attacks with theft and vandalism offences nearly doubling in the past year, according to figures from the Church Conservation Trust (CCT).

Data from the trust revealed last year saw the highest number of recorded incidents since records began in 1999.

CCT, who care for 350 historic churches across England, recorded 35 thefts of bespoke church window panels thought to be 'stolen to order' for underground traders in 2018.
 
In 2016 a panel of the prophet Ezekial from the 16th century Withcote Chapel in Leicestershire was stolen. It is suspected to be in response to an order from antiques dealers.

Stained glass windows are also vulnerable to smashing by thieves wishing to gain access to church buildings.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph CCT detailed one "particularly devastating attack" at St Mary's Church in Shrewsbury, which saw vandals smash a panel of its world famous medieval glass to steal money from inside the church.

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