A South Yorkshire MP said he fears "nothing is sacred" after discovering a three-fold increase in the number of metal thefts from church properties.
Michael Dugher, the Labour MP for Barnsley East, said not only Church of England properties were being targeted, but also memorials.
He described the thefts as "absolutely disgraceful" and said a solution to the problem must be found.
Mr Dugher said of the thieves "is nothing sacred to these people?"
South Yorkshire Police has recently raided a number of scrap metal yards in the county deploying 400 officers in an effort to deal with the problem of metal thefts.
Mr Dugher said figures he had obtained from the government relating to metal thefts from church properties in the borough of Barnsley showed an increase from £7,000 in 2010 to £22,000 in 2011.
"Churches are being targeted, I think that's absolutely disgraceful, but we're seeing public buildings being targeted, it's a huge issue on the railways," he said.
"It's having a huge impact across our community.
"We've had some shocking examples locally, the memorial to the miners at Grimethorpe was stolen, there's metal theft from Milton Forge skate park in Hoyland, it's a big problem."