Metal Theft from Historic Buildings

Prevention, response and recovery

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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 but dealing with an attack appropriately is crucial to protect historic buildings and keep them in use.

At Historic England, we recognise the serious impact of metal theft. As well as damage to historic buildings, it 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. It is an update of our 2011 note, Theft of Metal from Church Buildings, and reflects our updated advice to those dealing with metal theft and how to prevent it.


  • Historic England's approach to metal theft
  • Replacement following metal theft
  • Recovering the roof
  • Preventing theft
  • Dealing with theft
  • Help the police get a conviction
  • Where to get advice
  • Appendix 1: Checklist - what to do after a theft?
  • Appendix 2: Template letter to Historic England
  • Appendix 3: Alarm checklist
  • Appendix 4: Risk assessment template

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 38
  • Product Code: HEAG128


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Email: [email protected]

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