Police have launched a new scheme designed to protect historic sites, monuments and artefacts from the threat of heritage crime.

The Heritage Watch scheme is a national project, which Devon and Cornwall Police will be involved in.

Recently Men Scryfa, a standing stone in West Cornwall, was damaged in a suspected arson attack.

Devon & Cornwall’s rural affairs officer PC Julian Fry said: “Heritage Watch is a scheme for landowners, custodians of heritage assets and people who live near heritage sites or are interested in the history and culture of Devon and Cornwall. 

“It encourages proper reporting and sharing of information on crime or suspicious behaviour around our heritage assets. Heritage crime often goes unnoticed, large numbers of heritage sites are extremely remote and rarely visited.”

The scheme is being run alongside Cornwall Community Watch Association (DACCWA) and Historic England. 

It is an offence to harm any heritage asset and their settings, which includes historic shipwrecks, ancient archaeological sites, churches, castles and stately homes.

In the Duchy there is a charitable trust called Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network that was formed to care for the county’s ancient sites and protect them from deterioration.

They are currently looking for new members to help protect Cornwall’s ancient sites.

They were upset by the damage to Men Scryfa, where petrol appeared to have been poured on it and it set alight.

“I am just so shocked and disappointed that anyone would want to do such a thing to one of our precious ancient sites,” said chair James Kitto.