Heritage Crime - Policing the Past, Protecting the Future

Heritage crime is defined as any offence which harms the value of heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations or which impairs their enjoyment (namely listed buildings, scheduled monuments, conservation areas, registered parks and gardens, registered battlefields, protected wrecks, military remains, archaeological sites etc.)

There are many different types of crimes against our heritage, including:

  • theft of lead and other metals from churches and other historic buildings
  • architectural theft
  • illegal metal detecting
  • unlawful alteration and damage to Listed Buildings
  • unlawful demolition to buildings and structures in Conservation Areas
  • damage to monuments
  • arson
  • graffiti
  • other forms of antisocial behaviour in proximity to heritage assets.

Reporting heritage crime

Always dial 999 if you see a crime happening or likely to happen. Phone Cheshire Police on 101 for non-emergencies. Phone Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 if you don’t wish to give your name.

More information

Heritage crime is robbing us of our history, demoralising for communities, and is costly to put right. Cheshire East Council works closely with the police, Crown Prosecution Service and English Heritage to tackle heritage crime. Closer co-operation between agencies will reduce the amount of crime that damages or interferes with the enjoyment of our historic sites and buildings.

How you can help

We also need the support of local communities, and you can help by:

  • knowing more about the heritage in your local area
  • understanding how your heritage assets might be at risk of crime
  • putting in place actions to reduce those risks
  • setting up or joining a Heritage Watch Group
  • reporting anything suspicious

Types of heritage assets

Cheshire East has a rich history and a wide range of heritage assets, including:
Heritage Assets
Heritage assetAmount
Scheduled monuments 107
Listed buildings 2645
Conservation areas 75
Registered parks and gardens 17
Registered battlefields 1
Areas of archaeological importance 0
Areas of archaeological potential 10
Sites of archaeological/historic importance recorded on the Historic Environment Record 6708

In addition, there is a wide range of heritage assets that are not designated, but are familiar to us and valued by local people, for example, metal railings, village pumps, bollards, and sandstone walls. All of these assets could be vulnerable to heritage crime and anti-social behaviour.

You can carry out a risk assessment for your heritage assets by completing the Heritage Crime Risk Assessment Form

Finding out about heritage assets

You can find out by visiting the Revealing Cheshire's Past online database or by using the National Monuments List Register.

Heritage watch

To get involved in starting or joining a local Heritage Watch Group, contact the Communities Unit of Cheshire Police by email communities@cheshire.pnn.police.uk.

Page last reviewed: 24 March 2021