By James Heale For The Mail On Sunday
Published: 02:43 BST, 18 October 2020 | Updated: 02:43 BST, 18 October 2020
Britain risks being 'engulfed by a church crimewave' according to campaigners after new figures showed that more than 5,000 crimes were committed on religious premises last year.
Despite the four month coronavirus lockdown, an average of 13 crimes a day were committed between July 2019 and July 2020 including rape, arson and drug trafficking.
Figures from 37 of the country's 45 territorial police forces showed there were 5,367 incidents of theft, vandalism, assault or burglary across the UK in just 12 months.
The Metropolitan Police recorded some 1,106 crimes in religious locations which include 250 cases of violence against the person, 273 burglaries, 188 offences of arson and criminal damage and 371 thefts – an average of more than one day.
Items stolen included a 300 year old brass bell from England's smallest church in Wiltshire and a money box from a Gloucester church taken on Boxing Day after thieves broke in to search through the nativity scene.
Britain risks being 'engulfed by a church crimewave' according to campaigners after new figures showed that more than 5,000 crimes were committed on religious premises last year
The figures were provided by the Countryside Alliance as part of a call to focus attention on rural churches and increase funding for security at