This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Metal Theft from Historic Buildings

Front cover of Metal Theft from Historic Buildings

Prevention, response and recovery

This advice note is for churchwardens, trustees, fabric officers, volunteers and owners who care for historic buildings, especially places of worship. Preventing metal theft, especially from roofs, is the priority.

As well as damage to historic buildings, metal theft causes expense, distress and frustration. Replacement and subsequent insurance can be costly.

The note deals mainly with theft of lead roofs from historic churches but the information applies to other types of building and traditional metal.


  1. Our approach to metal theft
  2. The basis for Historic England’s advice
  3. Recovering the roof
  4. What you can do to prevent future thefts
  5. What to do immediately following a theft
  6. How to help the police to identify offenders and bring them to justice.

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 28


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Fax: 01793 414926
Textphone: 0800 015 0516

Was this page helpful?

Also of interest...

  • Remains of Roman settlement damaged by off road vehicles

    Heritage Crime

    Find out what Historic England is doing to tackle the problem of crime against historic places.

  • Theft

    This advice note provides guidance on ways of preventing theft of metals from historic buildings with lead roofs of churches particularly at risk.