Local businesses join forces to combat church lead theft

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The East of England Co-op and Norwich based broadband provider WiSpire have developed a new partnership to combat lead theft from churches in rural communities across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, which may also result in better broadband for local residents.

The new partnership utilises the East of England Co-op’s state-of-the-art alarm receiving centre (ARC), with direct links to local police forces, providing round the clock monitoring of churches, with WiSpire installing the CCTV system as well as providing internet connectivity in rural areas where necessary.

Both partners have their roots in the local region, with a strong community ethos which underlines their commitment to help stamp out this type of crime which causes great distress and financial hardship to small rural communities.   

The East of England Co-op’s Secure Response Services team has been supporting local churches since last August to put in place a number of measures to help ensure the safety of the staff, while also protecting the building and its historical assets so that people can continue to visit and enjoy them for many years to come.

Monitored 24/7 from the ARC, the controllers are alerted to any event allowing them to identify potential threats and report any criminal activity to the police. Their response team is also on hand to check the site and attend any incidents so that the churchwardens do not have to attend, or if they do so they’re not alone.

Lee Hammond, Head of Secure Response Services at the East of England Co-op said: “We know that crime on any scale can have a devastating impact and we take protecting our local businesses and communities very seriously. By working in partnership with WiSpire, as well local communities, police forces and councils, and really taking a stand for what we believe in, we hope to make our local towns and villages safe and thriving places to be.”

Steve Batson, Operations Director for WiSpire said: “WiSpire’s network includes church installations  across Norfolk and we’re very pleased to be working in partnership with the East of England Co-op to develop a system which will protect some of the most vulnerable churches in the region.”