A set of iron security gates at a church in Warley, West Midlands, have been damaged by a car crashing into them.

St Mary's Church, in Bearwood Road, saw its gates ripped from their fittings as well as the wall being destroyed during the collision. Police originally believed that the incident may have been the latest in a wave of scrap metal crimes and arrested a 24 and 26-year-old at the scene, who were later released without charge.

Rev Anthony Perry told the Express and Star: "We have, like many churches, been targeted by metal thieves on a number of occasions. They must have hit the gates at a great speed to cause this much damage."

Scrap metal theft is becoming increasingly more common and local authorities in the north-east and Yorkshire have launched an initiative to reduce the problem.

All merchants will have to sign up as licensed dealers with all potential sellers being made to show identification when at a scrap yard.

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