Government support for roof theft churches

Lavenham Church St Peter and St Paul, had lead stolen from the north roof ANL-150826-115229009

Lavenham Church St Peter and St Paul, had lead stolen from the north roof ANL-150826-115229009

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Churches affected by the recent spate of lead thefts in the county will be able to receive support from Government after a joint plea by local MPs.

This week Tracey Crouch, minister for sport, tourism and heritage, wrote to South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge to agree to a request that churches targeted in recent lead roof thefts would be able to get financial support from the Government’s Listed Places of Worship roof repair fund.

Mr Cartlidge had made the request along with St Edmundsbury and West Suffolk MPs Jo Churchill and Matthew Hancock respectively.

After hearing the decision Mr Cartlidge said: “I am delighted that the Government is going to make funds available to those Suffolk churches which have been hit by lead theft since the summer.

“We have only just had confirmation of the change and naturally await full details, but it is very encouraging that in effect the Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch, has agreed to the exact request I made together with my fellow Suffolk MPs – to allow churches that have suffered losses from lead theft to apply for support.

“The key point is that until now the fund had focused on long-standing damage.

“But I argued that the kind of associated damage inflicted by thieves on Lavenham, Groton and elsewhere is very expensive, utterly callous in its nature and surely as worthy of support.”

A caveat of any funding is that the churches have adequate alarm systems in place.

Churches in Lavenham and Groton were hit by thieves along with seven others, in a three-month spate.