Appeal to protect Calderdale's churches as devastating extent of crimes revealed

An appeal has been made to protect Calderdale's religious establishments as new figures revealed the devastating extent of crimes in West Yorkshire.

Since 2017 there has been 2,532 crimes on churches across Yorkshire recorded by the four police forces.

Reverend Jeanette Roberts at St Peter's church, Sowerby and picture submitted by Todmorden Unitarian Church of police outside the building

Reverend Jeanette Roberts at St Peter's church, Sowerby and picture submitted by Todmorden Unitarian Church of police outside the building

Of the 2,532 offences, 101 were lead thefts, 517 were general thefts, 429 criminal damage and 272 violent offences.

In recent months there have been incidents at churches in Calderdale.

Two men were arrested after getting stuck on a Calderdale church roof and had to be rescued by firefighters.

Police were called to reports of two men on the roof of the Todmorden Unitarian Church on Honey Hole Road, at around in October.

The Vicar of St Peter’s Church in Sowerby was “absolutely gutted” that around a dozen flagstones have been stolen from the churchyard in September.
Yorkshire's largest police force - West Yorkshire Police - recorded 1,199 crimes at churches and religious buildings since the start of 2017.

This included 20 cases of lead theft; 242 cases of general theft; 275 cases of criminal damage and 170 cases of violence.

There were also eight cases of rape, 23 cases of sexual offences and three cases of trafficking-controlled drugs.

Mo Metcalf-Fisher from the Countryside Alliance said: “These figures make for extremely distressing reading and paint a bleak picture. What’s worse, is that there are likely many, many more incidents like these recorded but that haven’t been disclosed to us. As a society, irrespective of faith or none, we need to be much more vigilant when it comes to watching over churches and places of worship by reporting suspicious activity.

"These figures serve as a reminder of the importance of funding and pushing for visible policing, particularly in rural areas where churches are more remote. 20,000 new police officers pledged by the government is a good sign, but we need to ensure officers are being sent to rural and remote locations.”