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St Nicholas Church in Ipswich aims to become showcase in security against lead theft

PUBLISHED: 07:30 27 September 2017

St Nicholas Church in Ipswich, which is getting additional security to protect against lead theft. Picture: JASON NOBLE

St Nicholas Church in Ipswich, which is getting additional security to protect against lead theft. Picture: JASON NOBLE

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A historic church and conference centre in Ipswich is set to be a “showcase” in protecting against lead theft thanks to additional security measures being put in place.

St Nicholas Church in Ipswich, which is getting additional security to protect against lead theft. Picture: JASON NOBLESt Nicholas Church in Ipswich, which is getting additional security to protect against lead theft. Picture: JASON NOBLE

St Nicholas Church and Centre in Cromwell Square has lodged a planning application for listed building consent to install additional CCTV cameras around the building, with the planning application stating it is “primarily to guard against lead theft”.

The cameras will have a limited impact on the appearance, according to the plans.

The application said: “The diocese is most aware of the concerns surrounding heritage assets.

“It is this that has caused the diocese to consider a CCTV system.

“Lead has been stolen from several dozen churches in East Anglia in the past year or two and the diocese has encouraged PCCs to install roof alarms on all churches deemed to be ‘lead heavy’.”

John Howard, a spokesman from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich confirmed the church had been struck by lead thieves on three separate occasions in the past, with the most recent one more than a year ago.

However in August Suffolk Constabulary said it had been called to a catalogue of lead thefts and attempted lead thefts in the summer in Woodbridge and an incident in Ipswich.

Police urged churches to install CCTV where possible, and asked communities to be the “eyes and ears” in any suspicious activities.

The East of England Co-op has offered to supply the church with the cameras, with the church set to become a “showcase” in security against lead theft.

Mr Howard said: “Our county is blessed with some of the most beautiful churches in the country and when thieves steal lead from a church roof they cause many thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“Now the Co-op has offered to supply us with cameras for free, St Nicholas will then be a showcase project for other diocese or parishes to visit and see how the cameras are carefully integrated into protecting an historic building to see if they wish to do the same.

“The new cameras we are planning are a preventative measure, rather than reacting to a recent theft.”

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