We are often told that if we don't want to lose our property, we should nail it down.

In the current climate, it looks as if we should be doing that to everything made of metal.

The criminals among us have obviously found a lucrative black market for their ill-gained loot.

St Mary's Church, Garsington, is the latest target, with thieves stripping copper and lead from the roof - and damaging historic stonework in the process - to wreck a £300,000 restoration project.

Is nothing sacred these days?

We have had reports of other metal objects being stolen in recent weeks - road signs, causing danger to road users, playground equipment, leaving children in distress, and now plaques at Oxford Crematorium, adding to bereaved families' grief.

Of course, the thieves don't think of the anger and annoyance they cause others - their only concern is how much they can make from their haul.

We may have difficulty catching the thieves.

But we can all keep our eyes open for the receivers or 'fences' - the people who provide a ready market for such material and are just as guilty as the villains.