Security solutions such as steel fencing could soon be seen at churches around the country, as metal thieves find the historic sites especially profitable.

One such example is St Andrew's Church in Hornchurch, Essex, where several people have opted to sleep on pews in order to keep thieves at bay.

The church has been targeted ten times in just five months, leaving a repair bill running into tens of thousands of pounds, reveals the Daily Telegraph.

Reverend Barry Hobson, an organist and eight parishioners have therefore decided to take up residence in the church at night time to prevent the problem from becoming any worse.

"We fitted an alarm to the roof earlier this year but the thieves somehow got around it so we're having to sleep here until the system can be extended," Reverend Hobson told the paper.

Advice was recently issued by the British Security Industry Association, which suggested that security fencing could be one of the most effective ways of keeping thieves away from churches.

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