Dorset churches are being asked to review their security arrangements.

The warning comes from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, which saw a fall in the theft of metal claims during the pandemic, but says criminal activity is likely to rise again over the coming months.

St Martin's Church near Dorchester was a victim of metal theft in 2020 when thieves stole lead from the roof of the church.

Last year a gang was successfully prosecuted for a spate of thefts in Dorset and beyond, with sentences totalling over 22 years for the crimes committed which caused over £2million in damage. Another gang is currently awaiting trial.

Bournemouth Echo:

There is now a high demand for copper and lead according to Ecclesiastical, which is driven by an increase in metal prices that has seen several churches already affected by theft in the first quarter of 2022.

The specialist insurer also recommends taking measures such as putting security lights and roof alarms in place.

Jo Whyman, risk management director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “The last two years has seen a drop in claims, but we believe that the UK-wide lockdowns have played a part in this.

“Theft of metal can have a devastating impact on churches and heritage buildings. Aside from the cost of replacing the metal, further damage can happen as a result of exposure to the elements which can cost thousands of pounds. It is vital that churches in Dorset take steps to protect themselves from thieves and follow our guidance which is available through our website”

Tips on how to help reduce the risk of metal theft can be found at