Merseyside Police officers are taking part in a week of action to target criminal activities involving protected heritage sites and buildings.

During the week of action, which runs until Sunday, September 17, local policing teams will carry out high visibility patrols of key sites across Merseyside with the assistance of partner agencies such as park wardens and antisocial behaviour teams.

The sites will include local parks, cemeteries, halls, churches and cultural sites such as wells and farms.

Detective Inspector Paul Lamb said: "Sadly experience has taught us that some heritage locations are susceptible to high volumes of antisocial behaviour and can be targets for vandalism, graffiti, arson, or in some cases theft.

"This week of action is aimed at targeting criminal activity including the theft of metal and unlawful metal detecting for cultural objects but it is also to make people aware of the importance of these sites and that anyone found breaking the law will be dealt with.

"Merseyside has numerous heritage sites, which are well loved and frequently visited by members of the public. These sites are protected for a reason and I would encourage anyone who sees any criminal or antisocial behaviour at any of these sites to report it to Merseyside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Mark Harrison, head of heritage crime and policing advice for Historic England added: "Heritage crime comes in many forms. When thieves steal metal from listed churches, artefacts from the ground or historic stonework from an ancient castle, they are stealing from all of us and damaging something which is often irreplaceable.

"The value of England’s heritage can’t be judged in pounds and pence. The impact of theft on our historic sites and buildings has far-reaching consequences over and above the financial cost of what has been stolen.

"We work closely with law enforcement colleagues across England, including Merseyside Police, and we fully support any action which helps to protect heritage sites and buildings for our future generations."