Gang Members Arrested for Church of England Metal-Stealing Spree

Theft reports down 60 percent after 'Voice of God' alarms installed on church roofs.

Six men have been arrested in connection to a string of thefts that inflicted £1 million of damage on churches in northern England. Their stolen goods of choice? Valuable lead from church roofs.

The men are believed to be "Britain's most prolific church lead theft gang," according to the Daily Telegraph, which also reported that the gang's earnings from the stolen scrap metal topped nearly £70,000. Yet damages–not only to churches' roofs, but also to property wrecked in the process–will cost "more than 14 times that amount."

Last year, the Telegraph reported more than 1,000 incidents of metal theft at churches per week, prompting calls for the scrap metal industry to clean up its act.

But churches also installed "Voice of God" roof alarms late this year, hoping to scare away potential thieves. According to the Anglican Communion News Service, the alarms may have worked: Theft claims were down 60 percent after the alarms were installed.

CT previously noted the rash of church metal thefts in ...

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