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Police launch scheme to protect local heritage sites

SA Updated
Police launch scheme to protect local heritage sites

Devon & Cornwall Police, in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Community Watch Association (DACCWA) and Historic England have launched Heritage Watch in Devon and Cornwall.

The counties of Devon and Cornwall contain over 35,000 designated heritage sites, both on land and in the sea and together they represent the chronological story of people, places and events that have shaped our regional identity.

Heritage Watch is a national scheme for landowners, custodians of heritage assets and people who live near heritage sites or those who are simply interested in the history and culture of Devon and Cornwall. It encourages proper reporting and sharing of information on crime or suspicious behaviour around our heritage assets.

Through the scheme members can also receive invitations to crime awareness events run by DACCWA and Devon and Cornwall Police and receive information regarding heritage crimes or suspicious behaviour in their area through systems such as DC Alert.

PC Julian Fry, Rural Affairs Officer, Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Heritage crime is any offence that harms the value of heritage assets and their settings, such as ancient archaeological sites, churches, historic shipwrecks, stately homes and castles. It can include arson, criminal damage, theft, unlawful salvage from historic shipwrecks and the trade in illicit cultural objects.

"With around 35,000 designated heritage assets in Devon and Cornwall and many more remaining undesignated or simply waiting to be discovered, we want protect the past for our future and by joining the scheme, people can do that.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: “We welcome our colleagues from Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Cornwall Community Watch Association as the newest Heritage Watch area in England.

"By working together with communities and partners across the law enforcement and heritage sectors we can help protect our historic buildings and archaeological sites from the threat of crime and anti-social behaviour and ensure their preservation for future generations to enjoy.”

Members of the public can sign up for alerts at and by choosing ‘Heritage Watch’ under ‘Community Groups’.

More information about designated heritage sites can be found at the online database provided by Historic England at This is the only official, up to date register of all nationally protected historic buildings and sites in England including listed buildings, scheduled monuments, protected wrecks, registered parks and gardens, and battlefields.

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