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Copper thieves cause gas leak at Darlington church: The Church of England Newspaper, April 1, 2011 p 6. April 1, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Crime.

Holy Trinity, Darlington

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A Darlington church almost became a deathtrap for its churchwardens, after thieves stole copper gas pipes from Holy Trinity Church—causing a gas leak.

When churchwardens entered the building on the morning of March 23 to prepare for a funeral, they were met with the strong smell of gas.  The building required a full airing before the service could go forward later that day.

The priest in charge of Holy Trinity, the Ven. Nick Barker, the Archdeacon of Auckland in the Diocese of Durham, told his local newspaper that while some regarded metal theft as a “victimless crime”, but “it’s the wardens who have to spend two days mopping up the mess, and the little old ladies who keep the church running who suffer.”

“There is a real threat on the capacity of the church as a whole to sustain the present level of theft that is going on,” he said.

On March 31, Archdeacon Barker and other church leaders will meet with representatives from the Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police forces, English Heritage and the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) in Bournmoor, County Durham to discuss strategies to fight metal thefts.

Many northern churches have been victims of theft, Archdeacon Barker said, some “several times.”

“The insurance cover has had to be limited and any repair is vexatious, time consuming, morale sapping and costly,” he said, adding that “repeated attacks threaten the long-term future of some churches and church communities.”

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