THERE have been more than 100 thefts from Cumbrian churches since 2017, a shock report has discovered.

The investigation took place after several complaints were made to the Countryside Alliance from members who were concerned that nothing was being done to raise awareness of lead theft in rural areas.

After submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to Cumbria Police, the rural campaigning group learned that 243 crimes had been reported at churches in the county in the past three years.

The investigation discovered that they are not only being targeted for their lead, of which there were 16 recorded theft cases, but that there were also 100 ‘general’ thefts in the past 3 years.

Churches in the county have been subject to 89 cases of criminal damage since 2017, and there are also 38 cases of violence against a person.

Across the UK, 20,168 crimes have been committed at churches and religious buildings, after 40 of 45 UK police forces responded to the FOI request from the Countryside Alliance.