Stephen Armson-Smith, Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor with Essex Police, advises on how to improve the security of your historic lead roof:
Around the county we are seeing a number of thefts of lead from roofs again from churches, historic buildings and also some more modern buildings too. All too often the theft of lead from a roof is only discovered after a downpour of rain and then the value of the theft is often exceeded by the value of the water ingress damage, sometimes with heritage properties irreversible. For this reason it is important to know your building, where those attractive metals have been used and check regularly that these are intact.
I have listed below a few crime prevention tips in relation to metal theft, but not all will apply to your property as each location may have site specific issues:
- Make it difficult for the thief; where possible remove any climbing aids.
- Make it difficult for the thief; metals can be heavy so make them walk a distance by securing gates when possible, and keep wheel barrows and wheelie bins locked away.
- Make it difficult for the thief; keep sheds and outbuildings secure with good locks (see www.soldsecure.com ), it adds insult to injury if they have used your tools and ladders.
- Maximise surveillance by sympathetically cutting back shrubs and trees where possible.
- Cultivate the neighbours to watch over your property and report any suspicious activity whilst it is happening, crime being committed 999, after the event 101.
- External lighting for security? If someone will see what is being lit up or notice the lights have come on if PIR activated light it, if not the only person to benefit from lighting is the thief.
- Illusion of occupancy – a light and radio left on inside ect.
- Consider using a forensic marker suitable for roofs (see www.securedbydesign.com ), and if you have it ensure that you have clear signage at possible climb points like downpipes and at your perimeter.
- Consider a roof top alarm and possibly CCTV (see www.nsi.org.uk or www.ssaib.org ); again if you have security flaunt it, ensure you have clear signage displayed.
- Consider planting prickly shrubs at possible climb points and to reinforce boundaries to deter the thief.
- Consider the use of anti-climb paints, but remember not below 2m and signage must be displayed.
Further useful advice can be found on the internet including these webpages:
If you know who is committing crime contact the Police using the 101 non-emergency number or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
For more information on local heritage crime, read this previous post about the Essex Heritage Watch