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Roof metal thefts cause Church insurance difficulties

Insuring churches is becoming more difficult as increasing cases of lead and copper theft take place because of high metal prices.

Churches look to be suffering more than ever from the roof metal thefts as copper and lead recently hit all time highs. This has led to insurers restricting cover to £20,000 to £25,000 instead of the unlimited coverage that was available until recently.

Christian insurance specialist Access Insurance broker Simon Hickman explained: “Insurers are now enquiring as to how much metal is on the church roof when offering insurance. Before, there would be no questions asked at all but now, they need to know details about what extent the metal is exposed. Any scaffolding will also be a problem because it is a perfect opportunity for thieves to take roof metal”

Until recently copper was experiencing record highs as the price of oil increased following political unrest in Libya and the middle-east. Last week’s MRW price for dry bright copper wire stood at £5250-£5450 per tonne and for collected lead scrap it was £1,000 – £1,100 per tonne. Prices have softened this week due to the earthquake and tsunami that has hit Japan, but values remain high.

Churches are now being encouraged to fit alarm systems and continue using smart water – which is used to identify metal once it has been stolen.

Hickman said: “As the price of copper and lead goes up, the problem is only going to get worse. People are looking to profit from the high values and with the economic situation we have they do it to support their lives.”

Hickman added that many commercial vehicles are also being targeted for their fuel, due to high values. The average price of diesel is currently trading around 139p/gallon.

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