'Voice of God' Alarms Installed in England Churches to Scare Away Thieves

Many churches in England plan to install "voice of God" alarms to their roofs to scare away thieves who strip off lead and copper.

The churches plan to hide movement sensors in the structures of their roofs that will set off a booming voice to startle intruders, according to the Telegraph. The "voice of God" alarm will let them know that they have been detected and that security is on their way.

The initiative in response to the "catastrophic" rate of metal thefts with an average of seven churches targeted every day. The plan is backed by the Church of England, the Association of Chief Police Officers and Home Office.

The high-tech alarms are paid for by an insurance company who donated 500,000 euros ($673,150). It will pay for the alarms to be fitted in 100 churches in England, Scotland, and Wales, who are at the highest risk.

The global economic crisis and rising cost of metal has played a role in fueling a surge of metal thefts. Churches in particular have been targeted by thieves that are poorly guarded and located in some of London's most crime-ridden areas.

Last year, Ecclesiastical, an insurance firm that covers over 90 percent of Anglican churches, received 2,600 claims of metal thefts. Metal theft is now viewed as a serious threat to Britain's national heritage.

A security campaign was launched by actress, Liz Hurley and Bishop of London, Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres. The campaign is called "Hands of Our Church Roofs" and Rev. Chartres said that churches need to remain vigilant to stay a step ahead of the thieves.

"Since the metal vandals have descended in such hordes over recent years our duty of maintenance has become nearly impossible," Rev. Chartres said. "New Government legislation will undoubtedly help, but we all need to remain vigilant and try to get a step ahead of these well-organized raiders."

Hurley said she endorsed the "voice of God" alarms to save traditional churches.

"Beautiful old churches are at the heart of so many of our communities and I find it truly shocking that anyone would steal lead from a church roof," Hurley said. "I heartily endorse the campaign to have alarms fitted."