CCTV to protect St Mary’s Church, Combs from further lead thefts

The East of England Co-op has been working with St Marys Church in Combs, a victim of lead theft la

The East of England Co-op has been working with St Marys Church in Combs, a victim of lead theft last summer. Left to right, Kevin Marriott (Marriott Security), Paul Jones, Rev Chris Childs, John Clitherow, Rev Rachel Cornish and Lee Hammond. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A new security system has been installed in a Suffolk church as the fight against lead thieves continues.

The East of England Co-op has been working with St Marys Church in Combs, a victim of lead theft la

The East of England Co-op has been working with St Marys Church in Combs, a victim of lead theft last summer. Left to right, Kevin Marriott (Marriott Security), Paul Jones, Rev Chris Childs, John Clitherow, Rev Rachel Cornish and Lee Hammond. - Credit: Gregg Brown

St Mary’s Church in Combs, near Stowmarket, has benefited from a state-of-the-art security system installed with the help of the East of England Co-op to protect it from further vandalism.

In August around six tonnes of lead was stolen from the church roof, resulting in more than £150,000 worth of damage. Since then, a further seven Suffolk churches have been targeted by lead thieves.

At the church, a comprehensive CCTV system has now been put in place, with the help of Marriott Security, which will be monitored 24/7 from The ARC, the state-of the-art alarm receiving centre, based at the supermarket’s offices in Ipswich’s Wherstead Park.

The controllers are alerted to any event allowing them to identify potential threats and report any criminal activity to the police. The team also carries out regular site checks and will attend incidents along with the church wardens.

The East of England Co-op has been working with St Marys Church in Combs, a victim of lead theft la

The East of England Co-op has been working with St Marys Church in Combs, a victim of lead theft last summer. Left to right, Kevin Marriott (Marriott Security), Paul Jones, Rev Chris Childs, John Clitherow, Rev Rachel Cornish and Lee Hammond. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Lee Hammond, the Co-op’s head of secure response services, said: “As well as the CCTV system, we’ve also installed a new audio system which allows our controllers to speak to any potential vandals with the aim of stopping them in their tracks.


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“We like to think we’re more than just a security company.

“We know crime on any scale can have a devastating impact and we take protecting our local businesses and communities very seriously.”

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Other East of England Co-op branches have also got involved to raise funds towards repair costs, with funeral director Aaron Farrell and colleague Sancha Green, from its Meredith Greengrass funeral service branch in Stowmarket, completing a skydive – raising more than £600. The branch also arranged a quiz night at The Gladstone Arms in Combs Ford, raising a further £470.

The Reverend Chris Childs, of St Mary’s Church, said: “We’re very pleased with the security camera installation, which helps us sleep easier at night knowing the church is protected. The Co-op have also been good supporters of the appeal and we’re very grateful for that.”

St Mary’s Church is also currently one of the chosen causes for the store’s token donation scheme.

The EADT and sister publication the Eastern Daily Press, along with others, are offering a combined £26,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the thefts.

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