CHESHIRE has become the first county in the UK to launch a heritage watch scheme.
The initiative, launched as a collaboration between English Heritage, Cheshire Constabulary, Cheshire West and Chester Council, aims to reduce vandalism of the county’s historical sites and encourage reports of crimes against historical buildings and monuments.
Representatives from the three authorities were at the launch of the scheme, held at St John the Baptist’s Church, Chester, one of Cheshire’s 5,600 heritage sites.
The Rev David Chesters said he was ‘sick and tired’ of vandalism to his church, including broken windows, public urination and graffiti.
“What these people don’t realise is that half the time they’re damaging their own heritage,” he said.
Assistant Chief Constable Ruth Purdie, who is leading the initiative, said: “When things are stolen from these heritage sites they are lost forever and mean nothing to the thief.
“It is extremely simple to report a heritage crime – you can contact the police on 101, visit the Cheshire Constabulary website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.”
Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, who also spoke at the event, said the properties affected were ‘the sorts of buildings which commemorate things that are important in people’s lives’.
He said: “I think these crimes are a really low and mean thing to do.”
It is hoped other historic counties will follow in Cheshire’s footsteps and launch their own heritage watch schemes.