Bishop of Oxford asks Government about metal theft from churches

On 2nd November 2017 Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the effectiveness and enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, the Minister will be aware of the impact on churches of such theft, particularly from roofs. It has a devastating effect on church communities and knock-on effects for important local amenities. Can she clarify what the Home Office can do to encourage enforcement of the need to register scrap metal dealers with local authorities, as well as not selling on scrap for cash?

Baroness Williams of Trafford: My Lords, buying scrap metal for cash is now an offence. I declare an interest in that I was chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the north-west, so I recognise the totally disproportionate impact that these crimes have on communities and on heritage. The Sentencing Council has published guidelines relating to offences of theft which specifically recognise that where an offence involves the theft of historic objects or a loss of the nation’s heritage, these are to be considered aggravating factors when sentencing. This can include damage to heritage sites or theft from the interior or exterior of listed churches.