Heritage Crime

SUSSEX POLICE                                                                                                                                                                                HERITAGE CRIME

Heritage crime, as defined by Historic England, is any offence which damages or harms the value of Englands. It includes sites or items which are considered to be of historic importance in England.

Heritage sites include:

  • listed buildings and scheduled monuments
  • World heritage sites and conservation areas
  • Registered parks and gardens
  • Protected marine wreck sites
  • Undesignated but acknowledged heritage buildings and sites
  • Registered battlefields and protected military remains of aircraft and vessels of historic interest

This offence may take place indirectly through other crimes; those that are posing the largest threat to heritage sites are –

  • Criminal damage, vandalism, graffiti and arson
  • Architectural theft, in particular metal and stone
  • Unlawful metal detecting – often referred to as ‘Nighthawking’
  • Anti-social behaviour- in particular fly-tipping and off-road driving
  • Illicit trade in cultural object
  • Unauthorised works to a listed building or scheduled monument


Some artefacts and sites are
protected by specific criminal
offences to prevent harm caused by
damage and unlicensed alteration.

However, other crimes such as
theft, criminal damage, arson and
anti-social behaviour offences can
also damage and harm and interfere
with the public’s enjoyment and
knowledge of these items.

it is important to protect these sites
and artefacts as once they are gone,
we can never get them bacliwexactly
as they were.

Sussex Police are working with
partners and agencies such as
Historic England to successfully
tackle heritage crime in Sussex.

Together we can stop this type
of crime. If you see anything you
feel may be suspicious or out of
place near a heritage site please
report it to us.







If you witness any criminal activity/suspicious behaviour taking place at a heritage site, you should report this to your local police force.

In East Sussex, to help prevent heritage crime and to raise awareness, Sussex Police have designated Heritage Crime Officer’s, including PCSO Daryl Holter who covers Rother District.

Most police forces have a liaison officer who will coordinate issues related to heritage crime in their area. You can contact them via 101 or, wherever there is an immediate danger to life or property and an emergency response is required, via their 999 number.

You should also contact Historic England and/or your Local Authority’s Conservation Department to make them aware of any damage to a designated heritage asset e.g. a listed building or a scheduled monument.

Heritage Watch Schemes are being introduced to allow the public to report and share information on any suspicious/illegal behaviour encountered at heritage sites in their community.