Police arrested the three men, who all live in the West Midlands, after an operation involving several forces in March this year.
Those arrested were Paul Buica, 25, of George Street, Birmingham; Constantin Motescu, 31, of Stebbings, Sutton Hill, Telford; and Luarentiu Sucea, 38, of George Street, Birmingham.
All three men today appeared at Lincoln Crown Court by video-link where guilty pleas were entered to over 30 offences of theft from churches and two former churches.
Among those counties hit hardest by the thefts were Lincolnshire, Somerset and East Yorkshire.
Thefts also occured from churches in Dorset, Wiltshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.
The arrests followed a joint investigation between Lincolnshire Police, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Humberside Police.
Among those churches which fell victim in Lincolnshire were St Nicholas in Normanton, St Lawrence in Tallington, St Mary and St Nicholas at Wrangle, St Andrew in Billingborough, St Swithin’s at Baumber and St Bartholomew at Covenham St Bartholomew.
The thefts in Somerset included the Church of St Edward King and Martyr, Goathurst, Bridgwater, St Mary’s Church, Glastonbury, St Giles’ Church, Bradford on Tone, Taunton, Church of St Andrew and St Mary, Pitminster, St John the Baptist Church, Wellington, and St Peter and St Paul’s Church, South Petherton.
In the Humberside police area lead was stolen from churches in Sigglesthorne, Hutton, Harpham, Bransburton and Langtoft.
In total Buica pleaded guilty to 16 theft offences, Motescu 23 theft offences and Sucea 13 theft offences. All three men entered their guilty pleas through a Romanian interpreter.
All the offences occurred between May 2018 and March this year.
Michael Cranmer-Brown, prosecuting, said the Crown would no longer pursue a charge of converting criminal property against the three men as it would not be in the public interest given their guilty pleas to offences relating to the majority of churches which suffered thefts.
Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight adjourned sentence until October 9 and remanded all three men back in to custody.
They will be sentenced alongside a fourth man who was arrested by police earlier this month.
Mihai Birtu, 23, of Port Street, Evesham, will appear at Lincoln Crown Court on September 25 after he was charged with 21 offences of theft of lead from churches around the country.
During 2019 Lincolnshire Police set up a dedicated team to work with the Diocese of Lincoln after a spike in lead theft cases.
Chief inspector Phil Vickers said: “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.”