Four men jailed for church lead thefts totalling £2m - including churches in Huntingdonshire

Gang jailed for church lead thefts

Four men have been jailed for a combined 22 years 7 months for the theft of lead from churches. - Credit: Archant

Four men have been jailed for a combined 22 years 7 months for the theft of lead from churches across the country - including two in Huntingdonshire villages. 

The All Saints Churches in Brington and Offord Cluny were targeted by the group between May 2018 and March 2020. 

Tonnes of lead was stripped from a mixture of Grade 1 and Grade 2 - costing 36 churches a combined total of almost £2.1m.  

The amount the defendants would have made from scrapping the lead would have been much lower than the cost to the churches. 

All four men had previously pleaded guilty to a total of 36 offences and were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court on January 6. 

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Shield from Lincolnshire Police, leading the investigation, said: “Some of the church congregations are still struggling to find the funds to repair the damage and restore their significant historical buildings which means so much to them as well as the local communities they serve. 

“The vast majority of these churches will have had insurance in place, but the insurance only covers a small part of the costs so congregations have been left to foot the remainder of the bill.   

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"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. 

“Some of the buildings are thousands of years old so these men have potentially destroyed hundreds of years of our heritage.” 

Constantin Motescu, 32, of Stebbings, Sutton Hill, Telford, admitted 23 charges of theft. 

Paul Buica, 25, of George Street, Birmingham, admitted 16 thefts. 

Mihai Birtu, 24, of Port Street, Evesham, admitted 14 thefts. 

Laurentiu Sucea, 38, of George Street, Birmingham, admitted 13 thefts.  

Motescu and Sucea were each jailed for six and a half years. Buica was jailed for six years. Birtu was jailed for three years and seven months.