Heritage crime is any offence which harms the value of heritage assets and their settings. Heritage assets are sites that are considered to have a value to the heritage of England and include listed buildings, scheduled monuments, World Heritage Sites, conservation areas, protected marine sites, registered battle fields and military crash sites and event sites, which may be undesignated but acknowledged as important. Criminal offences are in place to protect these sites from damage and unlicensed alterations.
Crimes impacting on Surrey's heritage include:
- Architectural Theft
- Anti-social behaviour
- Criminal Damage / Graffiti
- Unauthorised development
- Unauthorised excavation
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Metal Theft
- Unauthorised metal detecting
- Theft of historical or cultural artefacts cultural property, such as pieces of art, jade and rhino horn
It can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair damage to buildings and sites and can have a significant impact on the surrounding area. It is possible that the damage could be irreparable, which destroys a site of national historic importance as well as shaking the cultural foundations of the community around it.
Heritage sites and buildings can have a very positive influence on many aspects of the way a community develops and there are lots of them within Surrey. It is therefore important that these sites are protected and maintained so that they can continue to be a part of society and England's overall fascinating heritage.