A new heritage crime prevention organisation, supported by Kent Police, launches today [22 February 2017] at Leeds Castle to help to preserve heritage assets for future generations. Heritage crime is any offence which harms the value of heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations. It covers a wide variety of activity that is responsible for damaging assets that are of a particular historical interest. This activity can damage assets beyond recovery which can lead to the loss of a piece of history for ever. Due to the very nature of heritage assets putting right damage is costly to the public purse. For example the theft of metal from ancient monuments is leading to repair bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds when damage is caused by removal of the metal and weather damage when roofs are left open to the elements.
In Kent and Medway (and the seas around), there are:
17,944 Listed Buildings
422 Scheduled Monuments
62 Registered Parks and Gardens
11 Protected Wrecks
2 World Heritage Sites
Leeds Castle itself is a Registered Park and Garden and there are 10 Listed Buildings within the Registered Park Boundary. The Heritage Watch launch was attended by representatives from heritage venues across Kent and key heritage crime prevention organisations who will share intelligence to tackle crime.
The aim of Heritage Watch is to forge a link between these protected sites and the public to help protect them for future generations. Heritage Watch aims to encourage the public to use their eyes and ears to help look after our heritage through Country Eye, a new crime prevention app. To find out more visit heritagewatch.co.uk