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Stealing lead from church roofs should be treated as a 'hate crime', says security expert
Gary Mudd
UK News

Stealing lead from church roofs should be treated as a 'hate crime', says security expert

by Eno Adeogun

Nick Tolson, head of National Churchwatch, an independent organisation that provides advice on crime and security for places of worship, said when his church in Hampshire was attacked by arsonists in 2015 for a second time, just weeks after a Bible was left burning at the altar in a previous attack, it wasn't treated as religiously motivated.

"If a crime happens in a mosque or a synagogue, it is assumed to be a hate crime unless proved otherwise, but if it happens in a church it is assumed to be a normal crime," Tolson told The Times.


"Lead theft is a big one. People may think someone is only attacking the church because it has lead, but they know it is a church, that the church will have to pay for it and that the church is prevented from worshipping and can end up being locked up."

His comments follow figures released by Church insurance company Ecclesiastical that found churches made more than 9,000 claims per year for metal theft in the four years to 2012.

All Saint's Church in Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire, are currently raising funds to cover a potential £400,000 bill  after the Grade-I listed building had approximately 20 tonnes of lead stolen over time.

It may only receive £15,000 from insurers for the replacement project.

The Crown Prosecution Service defines a hate crime as an action motivated by "hostility or prejudice".

It describes hostility as "ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment [or] dislike".

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