Metal thefts affecting churches and commuters

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THE growing scourge of metal theft is likely to hit both commuters and worshippers this Easter, according to new research.

Insurance firm Direct Line said one in five people believe their local church has been targeted by thieves who have stripped lead off the roof.

Meanwhile, 10 per cent said they had experienced travel disruption as a result of metal thefts on the railway. And 13 per cent of respondents said the road infrastructure in their local area had been targeted by metal thieves.

Last month, the Scottish Government said it was looking at ways to end “ready-cash payments” for metal following an escalation of thefts in cable and metal from the nation’s infrastructure.

The cost to the UK economy of metal theft, which has risen alongside the rise in value of scrap metal, has been estimated by the police to be as high as £770 million.

It particularly affects the rail industry and utility companies, while the theft of sculptures and memorials, including war memorial plaques, has affected communities across the country.

Kate Syred, commercial director at Direct Line home insurance, said: “Theft of lead flashing from flat roofs, wrought iron gates, railings, and even copper pipes are becoming common claims.

“Householders should check they are covered under their home insurance, not only for metal theft, but for any consequential damage to your home.”