Three charged in connection with lead theft from Lincolnshire churches

Three men have been charged in connection with a series of lead thefts from churches across Lincolnshire and beyond.

Threekingham church had its lead stolen from the roof in December. EMN-200325-152450001

The men were arrested on Friday, March 20 charged with conspiracy to steal between August 2018 and March 2020 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, for retaining, converting and distributing criminal property.

Police have named them as: Paul Buica, 25, of George Street, Birmingham, Constantin Motescu, 31, of Stebbings, Sutton Hill, Telford, and Luarentiu Sucea, 38, of George Street, Birmingham.

They have all been remanded in custody to appear at Lincoln Crown Court on April 20 pending the current situation.

Motescu is one of four other men previously arrested for conspiracy to steal lead from churches over the last year. The other three, aged 24, 28 and 43 have been released on bail while investigations continue.

Chief inspector Phil Vickers said after the previous arrests: “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.”