Four men jailed over thefts of lead from churches across the country including St Mary's in Meare

  Posted: 07.01.21 at 16:03 by Glastonbury Nub News

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St Mary's Church in Meare was among those targeted by four men who were this week jailed for nationwide thefts of lead.

The four were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday (January 6).

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

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

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

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

Paul Buica

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.

They had previously admitted a total of 36 offences which involved stripping tonnes of lead from churches across the country between May 2018 and March 2020.

These offences included thefts from churches in Barrington, Bradford on Tone, Bridgwater, Clevedon, Goathurst, Ilton, Meare, Pitminster, South Petherton and Wellington, with some targeted more than once. The thefts caused a combined total of more than £1 million in losses and damage.

Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Cannon is from Operation Remedy, the Avon and Somerset team targeting burglary, drug and knife crime.

He said: "Avon and Somerset officers, including those from Operation Remedy, worked with colleagues in other areas, including Lincolnshire Police who led this successful prosecution.

Mihai Birtu

"This court result shows how well police services collaborate nationally to bring criminals to justice. These buildings are of great spiritual and historic significance to our communities.

"The damage caused a great sense of loss and in many cases an ongoing financial burden for refurbishment of the buildings."

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