Clergy Unite with Police to Save Religious Buildings from Vandalism and Theft

Article excerpt

Byline: Robin Turner

POLICE in South Wales have been forced to respond to an apparent new low in anti-social behaviour by launching a "worship watch" programme.

The initiative, based in Port Talbot but which could be rolled out further, aims to keep churches, chapels and other places of worship free from crime and anti-social behaviour.

Worship Watch will begin on Monday.

It follows a number of crimes involving churches and other places of worship, including incidents of theft, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

One of the main events that prompted the new campaign was the desecration of ancient Gellionen Chapel in Pontardawe earlier this year, when teenagers threw paint on walls, wrecked a 200-year-old wooden pulpit, pushed out a 12ft high window and smashed up old pews.

Also, lead from roofs, silver goods and other metal is regularly being stolen from church grounds.

Port Talbot Neighbourhood Inspector Karl Eenmaa said: "The initiative has been set up so that information about these incidents can be shared by different groups and hopefully prevented in the future.

"This is all about awareness. If we can tell the different groups exactly what is happening in the area they can look to improve their own security. …