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St Giles’s business turns tables on metal thieves

16 November 2012

A church in Lichfield has opened its own scrap-metal business to boost its funds. St Giles's, Whittington, has raised more than £20,000 for refurbishments through the business, which was the idea of a member of the congregation, Harry Wiggins. Mr Wiggins said that he thought it up as a way of turning the tables on scrap-metal thieves.

The Vicar, the Revd Fiona Haskett, said that the business started two years ago, when the church needed money to pay for a new boiler. It has since also paid for roof repairs, and raised £10,000 for organ repairs this year. It is thought to be the only church in the country to have a registered scrap dealership.

Mrs Haskett said: "Our licence does not allow us to drive around touting for scrap. Instead, Harry organised a leaflet drop, posters, and newspaper adverts in the Lichfield area, as well as in our parish magazine. People then phone one of us to arrange for him to come and collect the scrap.

"The vast majority is from private householders; so there is no likelihood of dealing with stolen metal there. I think that Harry has also sourced some from former business associates. We are very careful that everything is kept above board.

"People around here all seem to be fully aware of the scheme now, and, as a result, tend to come to us first if they are replacing a washing machine or cooker, or having a clear-out of the garage or garden shed. It seems to be a win-win situation: the residents have a good reason for a clear-out, and we get the scrap. It is a great success on several fronts.

"Harry has been an absolutely amazing ambassador for the church: he responds to calls very quickly, and often goes the extra mile in order to help people."

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