Lincolnshire's chief constable is calling for a tightening of cash transactions by scrap dealers to help reduce church lead theft.
Richard Compton said he was working to make sure all trades were properly documented.
The number of lead thefts from church roofs in Lincoln increased from 10 in 2006 to more than 80 in 2010.
The British Metal Recyclers Association said it had guidelines on what to do if staff suspected any criminal activity.
Mr Crompton said anything other than "a very small cash transaction" should be done by cheque or be properly recorded.
"We want... to tighten up regulations for scrap metal dealers - so any lax regulations around cash transactions are addressed.
"Some dealers do not ask as many questions as they should do."
The BMRA has a voluntary code of practice to deter thieves from illegally trading stolen metal and uses a "stolen metals bulletin alert".
All dealers are required to keep records of the materials they take in over their weighbridges.
John Coates, from Ecclesiastical Insurance, said the rise in thefts coincided with a rise in scrap metal prices worldwide.
The claims in the Lincoln area in 2010 totalled more than £180,000.
Mr Coates said his firm was encouraging churches to install roof alarms to cut the number of lead thefts.