Church counts cost of thieves

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COST of metal theft to churches in Barnsley more than tripled over a year, from £7,000 in 2010 to £22,000 in 2011.

The figures have been revealed after a Parliamentary question from Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher.

He said metal theft has become an ‘epidemic’ and that urgent action is needed from the Home Office to stop it getting out of control.

Mr Dugher is calling on the Government to change the law to make it easier to stop the crime.

His suggestions include licensing scrap metal dealers, banning cash payments especially for large transactions, powers for police to close rogue traders down, and a requirement for anyone selling scrap to provide proof of identity, recorded at point of sale.

Mr Dugher said: “This Government needs to go further if it is to effectively tackle this growing crime. Churches are considered soft targets due to lack of security.”