Update on March 25:
Three men have been charged 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.
This is connection with a theft of lead from churches across Lincolnshire and beyond.
They were arrested on Friday 20th March.
Those arrested and charged were:
- Paul Buica, age 25, of George Street, Birmingham
- Constantin Motescu, 31, of Stebbings, Sutton Hill, Telford
- Luarentiu Sucea, 38, of George Street, Birmingham
They have all been remanded in custody to appear at Lincoln Crown Court on the 20th April 2020 pending the current situation.
Three of the four men previously arrested in the original release below remain on bail. The fourth man, the 31 year old, is one of those charged.
We currently have a dedicated team of investigators making enquiries into the theft of lead from churches across Lincolnshire and beyond, during 2019 and January 2020.
Four men, aged 24, 28, 30 and 43, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal. They have been released on bail while investigations continue.
Chief inspector Phil Vickers said: "It is believed that in total there were more than 40 offences committed in Lincolnshire where lead was stolen from rural churches during 2019, and though at this stage 16 of those are believed to be linked, it is anticipated that number may increase as the investigation progresses.
"During 2019 Lincolnshire Police worked with the Lincoln Diocese and individual church premises across the county, providing site-specific advice to 53 premises as well as broader guidance to prevent offending, in addition to several hundred site visits that had been carried out previously.
"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."
25 Mar 20 12:26 PM