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Metal Theft

While metal thefts from churches have reduced in recent years the issue has not gone away and we continue to see new claims.  The level of risk a church can face varies and we recommend all PPCs review our Metal Theft Checklist to see if there are any precautions they can take to reduce the chances of this problem affecting you.


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Take a look at our quick video for more tips on protecting your church:

Top tips for protecting your church from metal theft

Lead, copper and stainless steel roof coverings, roof flashings, copper lightning conductors and lead rainwater pipes have all been targeted. Whilst world demand for metal remains strong their scrap value will continue to be high, making them an attractive target for thieves, and churches will continue to face this problem for the foreseeable future. Please review our top tips below or download our detailed theft of metal prevention guidance notes.

Security marking

Applying SmartWater to external metal (or an alternative forensic marking system approved by us) is a condition of your insurance. Please make sure you have applied SmartWater solution and registered with SmartWater and you have displayed the signs warning that metal has been protected.  For more information read our SmartWater page .

Engage with your local community

Joining the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme and urging the church’s neighbours to keep a watchful eye out for anything suspicious around the church can be a big help that costs nothing. Anything suspicious should be reported to the police straightaway and you should inform other churches in your area to put them on their guard.  A good example on how engaging with your local community can help you can be found here.

Install an electronic roof security system

Over 500 churches now have roof alarms to help protect external metal.  Alarms can be virtually invisible and large roof areas can be protected cost effectively. For more information visit our roof alarms page .

  • Did you know?

    If you install an Ecclesiastical-approved roof security system and have also applied a forensic marking system approved by us (such as SmartWater) to external metal, displayed signage and registered with the provider, we may be able to increase your theft of metal cover, depending on your individual circumstances.

    Call us on 0845 777 3322 for more information.

Is your SmartWater kit registered?

SmartWater logo

If you are unsure, you can call SmartWater on 01952 204 102 and check.

It’s vital to know, as you won’t have cover for external metal theft if your kit isn’t registered.

Metal theft - how at risk are you?

We’ve produced an easy to use self assessment tool to help you assess the risk of metal theft for your church.

Theft of metal documents

Choose the document that you are interested in below.

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Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg. No. 24869. Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg. No. 1718196. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg. No. 243111. Ecclesiastical Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg. No. 2519319. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg. No. 2046087. Ecclesiastical Services Ltd (ES) Reg. No. 1811698. E.I.O. Trustee Ltd Reg. No. 941199. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ, UK. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc and Ecclesiastical Life Limited are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Ecclesiastical Services Limited is an appointed representative of Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.