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Mwnt Church closed after attacks by vandals in December 2021.

Wales Leads The Way With Drive Against Heritage Crime

Wales’s four police forces have linked up with heritage bodies including the Royal Commission to drive down heritage crime. They have a stark warning – once it is gone it cannot be returned.

Heritage crime harms historic assets and sites, and includes theft, arson, illegal metal detecting (nighthawking), illegal salvage of shipwrecks, and off-roading on archaeological sites.

To try and prevent the further loss of important heritage Dyfed-Powys Police, South Wales Police, Gwent Police and North Wales Police are launching Op Heritage Cymru today, 21 June 2022.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the UK and is aimed at raising awareness and preventing heritage crime across Wales.

Police teams will be working with CADW, Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, National Parks, National Trust, and other heritage organisations like the Royal Commission, archaeological trusts, and various volunteers across the sector to work towards a greater understanding of heritage crime.

Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable, Dr Richard Lewis, said:

“Our heritage is what makes us who we are, so it is vital that we protect these landmarks and landscapes for future generations”.

Inspector Reuben Palin, from Dyfed-Powys Police, said:

“People are rightly proud of their heritage but unfortunately there is a minority that don’t give it the respect it deserves. Heritage crime is a serious issue that can have a serious negative effect on our communities”.

Royal Commission Secretary /CEO, Christopher Catling, added:

“The Royal Commission wholeheartedly supports this imitative. Heritage crime is never trivial, and theft and vandalism are especially distressing to struggling communities who might, for example, have to find money to deal with the aftermath of metal theft from places of worship, leaving the roof open to the elements, or repair broken windows after vandalism, as happened at Mwnt church last year just before Christmas.”

Many will remember the damage to Mwnt Church on the Ceredigion coast. Damage to the church by vandals included attacks to the leaded windows and gated entrance as well as its historic interior. Church lovers across the world were so shocked that in a matter of days £30,000 was generously donated towards the repair of this quintessentially remote Welsh church associated with Celtic spirituality.

Mwnt Church closed after attacks by vandals in December 2021.
Mwnt Church closed after attacks by vandals in December 2021.

If you are concerned about crime affecting historic buildings or monuments or other sites in Wales, whether generally or in relation to a particular place, the information below provides advice on what is being done about the problem and what action you can take yourself.

If you are aware of a crime currently taking place, please telephone the police immediately on 999.

If you are concerned that a recent incident has taken place which has damaged a historic asset, please call 101 to report the incident to the police. Alternatively, you will be able to report it via your local force’s website.

Please quote “Op Heritage Cymru” when reporting.

To pass on information about criminal activity and remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org


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