Are people returning to their lost faiths? Are there more bums on pews on a chilly Sunday morning? Not quite....According to the Guardian the collapse in global commodities prices, particularly metals, has seen a fall in the number of thefts from church roofs.
Ecclesiastical Insurance, which covers 95% of the country's Anglican churches, has noted a substantial fall in claims over the year. "It seems to be slowing down, admittedly from a very high level," said Chris Pitt, a spokesman for the insurer. "We still expected 2008 will be the worst year in history for metal theft from churches, but hopefully if prices stay low it could start to drop further."
The theft of metal, most notably copper and aluminium, became endemic as global prices soared during 2006 and 2007 due to record demand from construction and manufacturing industries, particularly in China. And it was not just churches affected: a two-tonne piece in bronze by Henry Moore is believed to have been melted down.
The downturn has also been noted by the British Transport Police (BTP), which considers metal theft its most pressing problem after terrorism... "Crime levels almost directly match commodities prices," said Paul Crowther, a BTP assistant chief constable.