AN MP has demanded action after it emerged that metal theft from Barnsley's churches has rocketed in the last 18 months.

Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, raised the debate in parliament when it was revealed that the cost of metal theft from local churches has tripled since 2010 - rising from £7,000 in 2010 to £22,000 in 2011. Michael has demanded the government take urgent action to change the law on metal theft - in a plan supported by local police he wants to ban cash transactions on scrap metal and demands police powers to close down unscrupulous dealers.

He said: "Churches are considered soft targets due to their lack of security and more needs to be done. “The police have been clear they require greater powers to enter scrap metal yards and close dealers not obeying the rules. Metal theft is becoming an epidemic and the Government needs to go further.”