KEEPING WATCH ON THIEVES

Pictured from left are Faith Watch volunteer Mary Clear, Sergeant Julian Hartley, volunteer Alan Fielder and Sergeant Michael Bowden
Pictured from left are Faith Watch volunteer Mary Clear, Sergeant Julian Hartley, volunteer Alan Fielder and Sergeant Michael Bowden

VOLUNTEERS have signed up to a new scheme to protect historic places of worship against metal theft.

Todmorden has become the first town in Calderdale to sign people up to West Yorkshire Police’s Faith Watch, which aims to prevent thieves targeting religious buildings for scrap metal, lead or stone.

Inspector Allan Raw, of the Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Todmorden has no more of a problem than any town but we are pleased to have the added support of the volunteers who will be able to share information with each other and ensure their local place of worship is not an easy target for thieves.”

Todmorden Unitarian Church, at Honey Hole, faced a costly repair bill in January after thieves stripped lead from the roof, leaving the interior exposed to the elements.

Insp Raw said: “Religious buildings are for all the community to use. Theft or crime against a religious building does not just affect those at the place of worship but affects the whole community.

“Some of the materials taken are both historic and ornate, which in many ways makes them irreplaceable. We need to stop these thieves stealing part of our local heritage.”

Mary Clear and Alan Fielder have volunteered to be the eyes and ears for historic places of worship in Todmorden.

Police are hoping more members of the faith communities will now join the Faith Watch scheme.

Scheme organiser Sergeant Julian Hartley said a central point of contact will be responsible for informing people of any issues at religious places of worship in Calderdale.

For more information about Faith Watch, contact Sgt Hartley on 01422 337238.