Church of England insurer Ecclesiastical said it saw 480 claims costing £1.4m during the first nine months of 2013, against 960 claims in the same period last year.
This is good news for the insurer, which has been badly affected by thieves targetting churches’ metal roofs in recent years as growing demand from the developing world boosted prices.
But a recent fall in metal values and stricter enforcement action appears to have reduced the number of thefts.
From this month, scrap metal dealers require a licence from their local council, must keep detailed records of their deals and face fines of up to £5,000 for wrongdoing.
“We are obviously relieved to see this decline in the number of metal theft incidents,” said Ecclesiastical’s John Coates.
“However, it is clear from the statistics that the war on metal theft is still far from over and there is more work still to be done.”