The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division works closely with Historic England to monitor lead theft occurrences. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 has substantially reduced the instances of churches having their lead roofs stolen, but I know that in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, lead theft remains a persistent problem.
Happy birthday, Mr Speaker.
St John’s church in Corby Old Village has suffered a significant number of lead thefts in recent years, which has resulted in very high repair bills. Will my right hon. Friend join me in condemning those who are responsible for those thefts, and will she also congratulate the congregation on their spirited efforts to put things right?
I am sure that we all condemn thieves who steal lead from church buildings, not least because communities face very big bills for its replacement. My own parish church is in the same position. After such thefts, it becomes difficult to insure churches again.
I commend the congregation at my hon. Friend’s local church. I point them to the ChurchCare website, which shows that there are now ways of fixing lead, and marking systems for signature materials to help to deter thieves.