Historic Cumbrian Church Roof Protected By Ballistics-Inspired Anti-Theft Technology
A historic Cumbrian church which has been the target of lead thieves to its roof is now being “guarded” by ballistics-inspired technology.
St Michael and All Angels Church, in Beetham, has turned to Trace-in-Metal to help shield its lead roof and flashings from criminals, because its Grade 1 Listed status makes it difficult to protect due to strict planning controls.
Designed by a former police detective, Trace-in-Metal fires thousands of microdots into metal sheets “marking” them with a unique identifying code.
In addition to being impregnated into the metal, the dots – which are almost invisible to the naked eye – are also painted on to each sheet using an all-weather lacquer that shows up under ultra-violet light.
And, such is the science behind Trace-in-Metal, that even the smelting process cannot destroy the nickel dots and their unique tags.
Trace-in-Metal director John Minary said:
“Lead theft is a huge problem for many historic buildings, with churches being particularly vulnerable. In St Michael’s case its Grade 1 listing – which is meant to protect it – has had the opposite effect in terms of safeguarding it from lead thieves.
One theft is bad enough, but to have the thieves return whilst the damaged roof area was being temporarily protected with sheeting is particularly distressing for the clergy and congregation.
The PCC has now turned to Trace-in-Metal. It is a simple process that has been successfully tried and tested on historic buildings in the North of England, and offers the ultimate protection, namely smelting can’t destroy it.
Metal theft is big business and the Home Office estimates it costs the UK economy around £220 million a year.
With resourcing being an on-going problem for police forces, anything that helps in preventing crime and saving police time must be welcomed.”
Mr Minary added:
“We see Trace-in-Metal as a valuable weapon in the crime prevention arsenal, and one that will help protect historic buildings around the country.
Trace-in-Metal provides much needed traceability of the metals, which will help the legitimate dealers to refuse to buy stolen metals.
Our service will help reduce the number of outlets where stolen metal can be sold.”
Harry Parrott, Secretary of the Church Fabric Committee said:
“Because we are limited in what we can do in terms of securing the premises, Trace-in-Metal was the perfect solution. All our lead is now marked and we have signs around the church warning would-be thieves that we are now protected by Trace-in-Metal.”