Coffee Talk & What's On => Rm 101. Misc. Odds and Ends => Topic started by: Steve Wakefield on April 19, 2008, 06:39:31 PM

Title: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Steve Wakefield on April 19, 2008, 06:39:31 PM
Hi Geoff
Well a listed building in Swindon had the lead stripped from its roof estimated cost £10,000.

If everyone who took scrap into a merchants had to have any money due to them transferred  directly into a bank account, then disposal of scrap metal would become part of an audit trail. The cash business should be stopped. Except for any amount of £25.00 or less. Simple solution and it would also be classed as a taxable gain. I am surprised that the treasury has never cottoned on to this one.

I just think it is a shame that the Bandstand has been stripped of the lead as it will soon be damaged by water ingress. Oh anyone managed to take a photo of the bandstand?

Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Alligator on April 19, 2008, 06:54:29 PM
I think this is a real shame Steve, I seem to recall that there's a new invisible security paint that insurance companies have trialled with some churches.  I think the general idea was along the lines of invisible markers but intead you spray it onto the lead and then the police can trace the source when they recover it and legitimate buyers always check for it when offered lead for sale.


I couldn't find anything locally about it on the web, but did find this, bizarrely in the New York Times!

It goes some way to explain the motives for the theft and mentions the paint and calls it SmartWater.

April 8, 2008
As Price of Lead Soars, British Churches Find Holes in Roof
EDMONDTHORPE, England — Thieves peeled long strips of lead from the roof of St. Michael and All Angels, until a barking dog sent them fleeing from this tiny Leicestershire village. But by then, they had left a hole of about 100 square feet in the top of the 800-year-old church.

For centuries, people have stolen religious artifacts in Europe, including chunks of religious buildings, but Britain is in the midst of an accelerating crime wave that some experts call the most concerted assault on churches since the Reformation.

Instead of doctrinal differences, the motivation is the near record price that lead — the stuff many old church roofs are made of — is fetching on commodity markets.

“The local parish church has become a victim of international demand for metals,” said Chris Pitt, a spokesman for Ecclesiastical, a company that specializes in insuring religious buildings and other heritage sites in Britain.

Lead’s price on global markets has rocketed sevenfold in the last six years, largely because of rising demand from industrializing countries like China and India. Centuries ago, its malleability made it a popular building material; now it is sought mainly for use in batteries for vehicles and backup power systems for computer and mobile phone networks. It is also used to make bullets and shot, cables and paints.

Because of booming demand, new mines are opening in South America and Asia, where deposits are plentiful. There is also a growing business in recycling lead, mainly from used batteries (where 75 percent of lead ends up) but also scrap metal.

Lead prices reached a record of $3,900 a ton late last summer mainly because of supply problems from mines in Australia, consumer demand in China for cars and motorbikes, and speculation by hedge fund managers on volatile commodities markets, said William Adams, a metals analyst at in London.

The price has pulled back since, trading at about $2,750 a ton, he said, but it could climb again on continuing supply problems and steady Chinese demand.

One of the oddest consequences of the historically high price is that idyllic corners of Britain — a nation that gave birth to the Industrial Revolution — are suddenly feeling the strain of Asia’s industrialization.

“Churches have become pretty savvy at protecting property inside their buildings, such as the altar ware and money in boxes,” said Mr. Pitt of Ecclesiastical, “but now the most valuable thing these churches have is being taken away piece by piece, and that is tearing away the very fabric of these buildings.”

Ecclesiastical is raising its premiums for churches after paying out claims last year totaling £9 million ($18 million), mostly for thefts of lead from roofs, he said. Before 2005, such claims were almost unheard-of.

A crucial problem for Britain’s churches is that many go unused for long periods of time, largely because of a decline in churchgoing. Services here in Edmondthorpe, for example, are often held just six times a year.

In some cases, clergy members and parishioners discover roof thefts only once rain pours into the building, damaging cherished items like carved wooden screens and ancient organs. The thefts can lead to thousands of pounds of structural damage, too.

In Edmondthorpe, the damage will cost £10,000 ($20,000) to repair.

“It’s ruthless how they do it,” said Nigel Peters, an inspector with the Leicestershire constabulary, describing lead thefts at Edmondthorpe and seven other local churches. “It’s such a skill to lay down the lead, and then it is literally just ripped away.”

Mr. Peters said his force had carried out raids on two local scrap metal dealers but had found no evidence of wrongdoing. He said no arrests had been made in connection with thefts in his part of the county.

Historical preservation rules require many churches to replace roofs with original building materials, including lead, despite its attractiveness to thieves and its cost. Many fear thieves will return after the repairs.

“Whenever I get an early morning phone call these days, I think, ‘Oh no, they’ve taken the roof again,’ ” said John Deave, 80, a retired barrister and a churchwarden at St. Guthlac’s Church in Stathern, another Leicestershire village, where the church was vandalized in January.

Mr. Deave suspected that thieves had climbed up the drainpipe, peeled a three-foot-wide strip from the roof, and threw their haul down into the churchyard, where they left a piece of metal and an indentation in the grass, before driving away.

Insurance paid most of the £2,300 bill to fix the roof. But the church had to pay the £500 deductible with parishioners’ money and reserves from tiny “peppercorn rents” still collected on nearby lands.

Mr. Deave has put special paint on the drainpipes to make them slippery to would-be climbers; has marked the roof with SmartWater, a kind of indelible ink that can be used to identify stolen property; and has pitched a thicket of signs around St. Guthlac’s warning thieves to stay away.

He wanted to put a bright light on the roof as an additional security measure but neighbors opposed the move.

Some churches in larger and more prosperous towns have upgraded their internal security, little changed since medieval times, to systems that are distinctly 21st century.

After lead worth £7,500 was taken from the roof of St. Peter & St. Paul, in Rutland, a county neighboring Leicestershire, the church canon, Stephen Evans, installed a security system with outdoor cameras. Movement on the roof sets off warnings that are sent to up to six mobile phones.

For churches with less money, the introduction of more rudimentary deterrents may be inevitable.

“Nobody likes to think of barbed wire or that kind of thing on these buildings, but churches seriously have to look at that,” said Tom Bates, a former insurance manager in the village of Waltham-on-the-Wolds, where lead was removed from the church of St. Mary Magdalene late last year.

“Ultimately insurance companies will say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” he said.

At St. Michael and All Angels in Edmondthorpe, Barbara Coulson, a lay minister, went ahead with a Good Friday service even after the theft. Thirty-six people attended as wintry gusts flapped the blue plastic covering the hole in the roof.

Ms. Coulson expected the roof to be repaired soon and said new security measures would be put in place.

Still, she said, churches like hers would remain vulnerable, in part because respect for faith traditions is often too weak to offset the temptation of cashing in on global markets.

“We increasingly seem to live in a world where the question ‘Is nothing sacred?’ so easily springs to mind,” she said.

Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Chav on April 19, 2008, 09:14:58 PM
Well I agree wiv you Mr W, then we wouldnt ave to keep seein our cars jacked up on bricks

But seriously whilst there is cash payements for scrap then it aint gonna stop ppl doin it illeagally is it !

There needs to be strict guidlines, like avin the money payed into an a account as well as wot eva it woz that you woz sellin is logged innit!
Odd innit that scrap yards ave cctv to stop ppl nickin the scrap,yet they do not ave a clue who they buy it off in the first place innit !
I recon they should ave the same system as cash convertors

                                                           Chav  :angel: :angel:
Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Simon on April 19, 2008, 10:10:28 PM
So if lead fetches a good price these days, why don't these churches sell the lead from their roofs and use the proceeds to replace it with the sort of tiles most of us have on our houses, making a tidy profit and eliminating the risk of future lead thefts in the process?

It might be a stupid question, but it's one that I feel needs to be asked.
Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: ZPW on April 20, 2008, 07:52:29 AM

If everyone who took scrap into a merchants had to have any money due to them transferred  directly into a bank account, then disposal of scrap metal would become part of an audit trail. The cash business should be stopped.


Yes one the one hand. If one believes in taxation ( and one has tp hope for the govt. that the 5,000,000 poorest in the country who will be paying about #200 each more in tax do believe in taxation) then eliminating the cash economy is a stella notion.
If there were a ceiling to cash transactions such as #25.00 - sure would drive down the price of... windowcleaning, short taxi rides etcetterah etcetterah.

On the other hand... outlawing cash transactions does seem a tad punitive. Increasing numbers of people are trying to drop off the central grid of govt. observation. Not because they have something to hide but because they are arsed-off by the constant creep,creep,creep of surveillance. The off-gridders work in a cash economy and would likely move into the trade of jackdaws and lithium crystals if cash became hard to pass.

All in all. I think I prefer vthings the way they are.
Including the 10p lower tax rate.

Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Steve Wakefield on April 20, 2008, 08:12:12 AM
As ever a good question, one of the reasons is that the properties are listed and heritage buildings it would be tantamount to replacing StoneHenge with plaster of parris models, or fibre glass. The lead aso weathere extremely well and  as you know, if lead is not subject to prolonged acid rain it forms a coating that protects it from corrosion. Copper will also do this, so in the longrun Lead will be value for money. I used to do lead and and copper work. ZPW I agree and  the fact is I am not one for taxing or ID ing people ad infinitum, but if a punter wanted to sell to a merchant, and that merchant has to put the money into a bank account by BACs, then the choice is simple sell or don't sell. It is a legitimate transaction. As you know Scrap Dealers have to take details and hold records.

You really must see some of the addreses and names (details merchants have to keep) Names and addresses that are quite obviously bogus. Example  D. Raincover, Letsby Avenue! (this was an example from a TV investigation into the problem.) ZPW going by the current events being reported in the media, surely the issue of the 10p tax band abolition would be better served in a seperate thread? Though I did like the other points made in  your posting  :)

If the problem facing other towns is anything to go by then this is just the beginning here in Swindon. Scrap is now becoming worth more than many other criminally obtained commodities and is one reason why road signs and draincovers are being stolen repeatedly. I have noticed several sets of hazard cheverons missing on bends, only to be replaced and stolen again.  Can plastic will be used more?

This is a crime and like any other crime will come to a street near you, or a pub; as kegs are one of the most sought after items, now that will push the price of a pint up! So "why don't these pubs sell the Kegs and use the proceeds to replace it with the sort of  plastic kegs used by fruit processors, making a tidy profit and eliminating the risk of future Keg thefts in the process?

Copper wire is being stolen at an alarming rate However in the USA the thefts are reported to be reaching epidemic proportions in some states.

Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Dick Norman on April 20, 2008, 02:30:45 PM
 :police: :police:

so where are these guys on this issue?  Now I know an ex Swindon Policeman who became a member of CID in the 1960's 70's and part of his work took him to the scrapyards and thereby arrests.

So what are our Police doing about this particular issue - as it is Sunday Lunchtime are they still processing last nights drunks?

So what are you doing to address this issue, Government Representative for South Swindon, Anne Snelgrove?  Another wraft of unenforceable legislation that is unsupported by the community it is supposed to protect?

Tough on Crime tough on the Causes of Crime - my arse!!!

Just Words &

Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Simon on April 20, 2008, 04:52:47 PM
As ever a good question, one of the reasons is that the properties are listed and heritage buildings it would be tantamount to replacing StoneHenge with plaster of parris models, or fibre glass.

Of course, I should have thought of that  :-[
Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Mart on April 20, 2008, 07:35:42 PM
I do not know the answer myself, but exactly how many places are there within a 5 mile radius that would be in the lead buying business? I wouldn't imagine it was a long list.

I know copper is an alternative, Friends Provident tried out large portions of it in Dorking cos their roof could be seen from the top of Box Hill, someone insisted the roof appear green from the viewing point on the hill so they slung copper on it. and as such the Friends Prov roof apparently underwrote most of the local economy between getting nicked, sold and replaced. Part urban myth, part true I suspect. It's still green but I think it is a high tech felt now.

You can get zinc and aluminium replacements for lead flashing, big in US and Australia, and there is mention of them over here, primarily in forums discussing rainwater harvesting, copper gets turned down because of copper salts, bit of a worry cos the last time I checked my water pipes here in the crumbling ruin they were copper, still that shows what a diet of lentils will do for your powers of reason.

Finally, though I am no particular fan, I'm surprised there is no CCTV to help identify the thieving scumbags, I bet they'll be back after it's replaced, mind be worth sticking it in for a while.
Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Tobes on April 21, 2008, 08:53:03 AM
This is an issue across a wide range of industries - and it's not just lead. ANY metal with a high scrap value is getting half-inched: two of the other most valuable metals on the scrap market are aluminium and copper, so sorry Mart, no alternatives there! Its got so bad that the pikies are nicking lightning protection strips from churches and radio masts.

Apparently the market is sky high because our chinese friends are building so much...
Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Mart on April 21, 2008, 07:22:37 PM
Tell me about it.

I did a stint in Birmingham a little while ago, all the other warehouses had been flattened and replaced with spiffy modern units, ours looked like the Addams Family residence, or the Munsters.

The other units were persistently broken into, the wiring stripped and piled onto the floor, then set light to, this was to strip the insulation away. Cos our place looked decrepit we were left alone. Seemed a lot of trouble to go to, but just goes to show.

To be honest I haven't seen anything that looks as right as lead, well unless it was very good and I couldn't tell the difference. A possible answer is to get builders to work to tighter tolerances so they don't have to cover the gaps resulting from their shoddy workmanship with lead.

Thatch perhaps.
Title: Re: Bandstand Roof Lead Stripped
Post by: Mart on June 23, 2008, 08:46:16 PM
Here's a thing:

Mobtown Shank
June 22, 2008 by inspectorgadget

Is anyone else being robbed blind of copper pipes, electric cable and lead from the local Church roof?

In a moment of clear madness I thought it was a national trend, caused by the high price of metal on the world market, leading to high prices for scrap metal in local areas.

Apparently not. Apparently, according to the Ruralshire Chronicle it is the fault of the police. More specifically, my fault. My fault because I was the only Inspector available on Friday afternoon to provide a statement about this problem.

The Detective Inspectors had been in the pub since 2.00 pm and my uniform colleagues are too interested in promotion to go near the media. Faced with the possibility of a “local police declined to comment” situation, I was asked to do it by the attractive but unconvincing “media officer”.

Checking the roof. There are worse jobs.

In a second moment of madness, I informed the journalist that metal theft is a national trend, caused by the high price of metal on the world market, leading to high prices for scrap metal in local areas.

She smiled, nodded her head in apparent agreement and wrote it all down. She then asked me what the police were doing about it and I dutifully spun her all the items on a hurried list dictated to me by the DCI from his mobile next to the bunker by the 9th at the Royal Ruralshire.

I saw the results this morning in the shop as I bought some bacon. The Chronicle blames Inspector Gadget for not doing enough.

To be fair, with the few Response Officers I actually have on the ground we are lucky to be able to answer the emergency calls let alone personally guard every Church in F Division.

As for the journalist, I’ll send her a T Shirt and she can read the logo a thousand times.

I like him, I like him a lot.