7:00am Friday 30th January 2009
A very modern security method has been used to protect a 15th century village church.
The parish church in Dedham, which dates back to 1492, has been given the digital SmartWater treatment to guard it against theft.
An all-weather colourless liquid, SmartWater contains a unique registered code which means that stolen property can be easily identified and returned.
Dedham vicar and lecturer Rev Gerard Moate explained that the step was taken as a mainly preventative measure.
“We are quite fortunate – we have only had one theft in the past year,” he said.
“It helps that we are open every day and that we have so many visitors.
“But this is a small price to pay to keep the church safe and make sure it can stay open all the time.”
He added: “We have put the SmartWater everywhere, including the roof and the gates.
“This won’t prevent a theft, but it gives us a better chance of getting our property back if it is stolen.”
Mr Moate added that other steps have also been taken to heighten security at the church.
He explained: “If people are there wearing high visibility jackets, villagers often assume they’re workmen.
“So now all scheduled work will be listed on the main church noticeboard, so people can check that they’re genuine.
“No vans or trucks will be allowed to park inside the churchyard without a dated parking permit, and some of the internal church lights will also be left on overnight.”
He added: “I hope that the church is at the heart of residents emotionally, and that they will keep an eye on anything suspicious.”
If you have concerns, call Mr Moate on 01206 322136 or church architect Roger Barrell on 01206 322370.