§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimates he has made of the total value of church furniture, ornaments and other items that have been stolen from churches open to the public in the past 12 months. 
§ Mr. Stuart Bell
This is not a matter for the Church Commissioners. I understand that there is no central register kept of thefts from Church buildings in England. However, figures from the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, which insures most Anglican Churches in England, show that, in 1997, 1,974 cases of theft were reported from Anglican Churches insured by the EIG in England and Scotland. The items stolen were insured for some £1.5m. These records do not show whether the church was open to the public at the time of the theft.