Lincolnshire Police have charged three men in connection with church lead thefts
Police have charged three men in connection with a series of lead thefts from churches.
Lincolnshire police have been investigating a number of attacks on the county's churches between August 2018 and March 2020.
Officers have now charged three men with conspiracy to steal between August 2018 and March 2020 and offences in relation to the Proceeds of Crime Act, retaining, converting, distributing criminal property.
The men who were arrested are:
- Paul Buica, age 25, of George Street, Birmingham
- Constantin Motescu, 31, of Stebbings, Sutton Hill, Telford
- Luarentiu Sucea, 38, of George Street, Birmingham
All three have been remanded in custody and are due to appear at Lincolns Crown Court on April 20 if the current situation allows.
Police have not named the churches linked to their investigation but one high profile victim last year was the parish church at Gosberton and Bicker church was hit 48 hours later.
Chief inspector Phil Vickers said that it is believed that more than 40 offences were committed in Lincolnshire when lead was stolen from rural churches in 2019.
He said: "The impact of these offences goes well beyond the significant financial cost. Communities have felt a great sense of loss at the damage caused to their heritage, and increased vulnerability due to the rural nature of many of the premises .
"We know that in addition to the loss of lead, extensive damage has been caused to the fabric of the buildings by water ingress during bad weather.
"We continue to work with rural communities to prevent offending, and encourage anyone seeing or hearing anything suspicious at Heritage Sites, particularly at night but also during the day, to contact Police immediately."