Roof alarm success but plea for more funds

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Thefts of lead from Norfolk’s churches have halved in the past two years – thanks to the roof alarm scheme.
A £250,000 fund has enabled 70 of the most vulnerable churches to be protected by the Roof Alarm Scheme. Initially, it was planned to install 50 alarms when the scheme was launched two years ago by the Diocese of Norwich.
According to the Eastern Daily Press (Saturday, 7 September), which has backed the roof alarm initiative, Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, pledged £100,000 at a meeting in December 2017 to kick-start the alarm scheme. And the diocese of Norwich, the Norfolk Churches Trust, the Round Tower Churches Society and Allchurches Trust immediately gave their financial support.
The former Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, supported the roof alarm scheme as a total of about £250,000 was raised.
But funds are needed to continue the work and to protect other churches in the diocese as Norfolk police revealed that the number of incidents of lead theft has halved in the past two years. In the two years before the roof alarm scheme was started, there had been 48 incidents but only 26 in the last two years, according to Norfolk police.
The Ven Steven Betts, Archdeacon of Norfolk, said: “The partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner and other donors means the vast majority of our vulnerable churches are now protected by alarms.”
Mr Green said: “It is reassuring to hear that since the scheme was launched the police have recorded a near 50pc drop in reports of lead theft, however this does not mean we should rest on our laurels.”
An urgent plea for funds has been made to protect more churches across the county by donating money to the Raise the Alarm scheme.
Donations can be made online to the Norfolk Community Foundation, (Raise the Alarm) or by post to Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich NR3 1TN.