Harsher penalties for thieves targeting war memorials

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 07:33 GMT, Oct 6, 2015 |

Thieves who steal metal plaques from war memorials, or damage other historic monuments, will face tougher penalties under new guidelines for judges in England and Wales.

The Sentencing Council also recommends harsher punishments when a crime puts people at risk of harm.

More than 91,000 offenders were sentenced for theft last year.

Mark Harrison, of Historic England, said the value of England’s heritage “can’t be judged in pounds and pence”.

Offences involving historic objects being stolen have been specifically recognised as “more serious” by the Sentencing Council for the first time.

The new guidelines say this includes damage to war memorials when thieves steal metal plaques, and theft of objects from a historic shipwreck.