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Heritage crime

North Yorkshire has thousands of heritage sites across the county – they’re part of the reason why it’s such an attractive place to live and visit.

The aim of North Yorkshire Police, partner agencies and the wider community is to protect these sites, so that others can continue to enjoy them for many years to come. This can be achieved by increasing awareness of the heritage assets in our community, supporting Heritage Watch, and encouraging members of the public to report incidents around heritage sites.

Heritage sites can be any historical location, including:

  • war memorials,
  • ancient battlefields,
  • castles,
  • churches,
  • stately homes,
  • museums containing historical artefacts.


What is heritage crime?

Heritage crime is any offence which causes harm to heritage assets and their settings. It covers a wide range of criminal activity (including criminal damage, arson, theft of artefacts, metal theft, unauthorised metal detecting, unauthorised development and damage caused by vehicles) which damages assets of historical interest and can lead to the loss of these assets forever.

The cost to our communities

Repairing the damage caused to heritage assets is expensive, and can be more costly than the value of the item taken. The cost to communities is often immeasurable, with the loss of artefacts to future generations, or the postponement of events such as weddings, a secondary effect of this crime.

Heritage Watch

Heritage Watch is a scheme which aims to fight crime and anti-social behaviour at North Yorkshire’s heritage sites by improving communication between people who take a
keen interest in heritage, those who live near historical sites, and the police. These people are likely to frequent areas of historical interest more often, and can therefore notice anything suspicious or out of the ordinary in these areas.

You can help:

  • Be aware of where the heritage sites and artefacts are in your community – you can find information at historicengland.org.uk
  • Keep an eye out for precious sites and artefacts
  • Report any concerns to the police on 101, or if a crime is in progress or an emergency, by 999.
  • Share this information with others in the area.