As the Government grapples with the aftermath of the riots, this is further evidence that too many petty criminals, and others, fail to pay sufficient heed to the notion of respect.
It does not matter whether the thieves concerned are educated – or not. No one should need telling that churches are places of worship that also offer a sanctuary to the desolate and, in most cases, those whose conduct has erred.
Yet what does it say about Britain today if a church cannot leave its doors open without a member of clergy, or volunteer, being present during the day, and CCTV cameras operating at night?
What does it say about this country’s supposed status as a civilised society when the plaques honouring the war dead are not even immune from metal thieves?
And what does it say about Britain in 2011 that there are some idiots who are prepared to violate the memory of the fallen? They are true heroes who neither wanted, or intended, to sacrifice their lives so today’s junkies could enjoy a quick-fix at their expense.
That some places of worship, like Dewsbury Minster, no longer see their losses covered by insurance demonstrates the extent of the problem – and why lawful scrap metal dealers must now work with the police to identify the miscreants responsible.
Symbols of hope and reconciliation to all, including petty criminals, robust action needs to be taken to prevent Britain’s heritage being defaced by insolent idiots who do not appreciate the outrage caused by their criminality, and how this reflects badly on both their community and their country.