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Metal Theft (Forensic Marking Systems)

Volume 541: debated on Thursday 1 March 2012

9. How many churches use forensic marking systems to prevent metal theft from church property; and what the cost is of such systems. (97371)

The use of forensic marking is widespread and is strongly encouraged at diocesan level and by insurers. Some 12,500 churches have registered with the SmartWater scheme. SmartWater has been successful in a number of cases involving arrests and successful prosecutions. An increasing number of churches are also now fitting roof alarms.

I recently visited a church dedicated to St Materiana in Tintagel. It is a small church carrying the SmartWater sign. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the costs should not be prohibitive so that smaller churches can remain open for worshippers and visitors?

I would hope that it would not be prohibitive for any church to install SmartWater. I take note of the hon. Lady’s point, however, because I would hope that, in such circumstances, dioceses could help small churches with the funding that they need to protect their heritage.

I am sure that the House is grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his replies to nine successive questions, and for the prodigious work rate he has just demonstrated.