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Metal Crime

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 21 November 2013

9. What assessment he has made of the effects on churches of metal crime since introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. (901196)

The enactment of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act is warmly welcomed by the Church. The additional powers under the Act have strengthened the hand of the important agencies against this crime, which for churches is now at its lowest level for many years.

I thank my hon. Friend for that statement. Will he provide some information about the effects of this welcome Act, promoted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Croydon South (Richard Ottaway), on churches in my diocese of Lichfield, led by the lord bishop?

In 2011 in the diocese of Lichfield there were 100 claims for lead metal theft costing nearly £200,000. As of May of this year, there were fewer than 10 claims costing less than £10,000. Churches still have a duty to use things such as SmartWater and CCTV, but the fact that it is now no longer possible for robbers to strip churches of lead at night, go round to the scrap metal yard next day and get paid in cash means that we are seeing a considerable drop in lead theft. That is good news and the whole House should be grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for Croydon South (Richard Ottaway) for getting the Bill through Parliament.