The theft of lead and other metal has become a huge problem in recent years, due to the rising value of metal worldwide. Churches are among the most popular targets for thieves in Leeds but the crime is also a growing problem with roofs on homes, restaurants and public buildings also being targeted.

In the last year the several Leeds roofs have been targeted by crooks on the prowl for valuable metal. Some of which have suffered several thousands of pounds damage as thieves have stripped them of copper and lead tiles and flashing.

A new police scheme is being started in Leeds to stop thieves targeting the roofs of religious buildings for scrap metal, lead or stone.

The Faith Watch scheme is a partnership between communities, local churches, mosques and other faith organisations. It aims to boost communication between officers and the groups, and also increase the reporting of crime.

Police said metal and lead theft from the roofs of religious buildings was an increasing problem across West Yorkshire. Insp Richard Cawkwell, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Any religious building, whether it is a church of a mosque, is an establishment for all of the community. Theft or any crime against a religious building does not just affect those at the place of worship but affects the wider community”.