Monday, July 23, 2012

Stealing History: Nothing is sacred to Britain’s metal thieves

For years the Haworth Parish Church in Yorkshire has withstood every onslaught, from the driving Pennines rain to thousands of tourists wanting to visit the final resting place of Charlotte and Emily Bronte. But one thing it couldn’t survive: The metal thieves who repeatedly stripped its roof in the night.

This week the church is surrounded by scaffolding, as a $2-million renovation begins with workmen removing Westmoreland slate tiles from the roof. They don’t have to remove the lead flashing and gutters, because those were taken by thieves in three daring raids over the past two years. With the lead gone, the rain poured in and the church began to rot from inside.

The Haworth Church, formally called St. Michael and All Angels, is particularly high-profile, but it’s merely an emblem of a much wider problem sweeping Britain during a time of rising metal theft. In a country so rich in heritage, how do you keep robbers from stealing history?

Click here to read this article from The Globe and Mail