Police probe into 31 lead thefts from churches across county may have brought spree to an end

One person has been arrested as part of a major investigation into thefts of lead from church roofs that have blighted the area this year.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 1:19 pm
Police action may have ended lead crime spree

Police say there have been 31 offences where ‘substantial’ quantities of lead’ were stolen from church premises up until August 31 this year.

But the officer leading the probe believes that police action may have brought the spate of thefts to an end.

Two churches near Boston targeted by thieves within hours of each other suffered up to £75,000 worth of damage earlier this year.

Lead was stripped from the roofs of St Swithun’s Church in Bicker and St Peter and St Paul’s in Gosberton in May - leaving both buildings open to the elements.

And it is the investigation into those crimes that police say may have led to a breakthrough.

Chief Inspector Phil Vickers, force lead for rural crime at Lincolnshire Police, said: “Between January 1 and August 31 this year, Lincolnshire suffered 31 offences where substantial quantities of lead were stolen from church premises.

“The majority were on the west and south of the county, with these thefts being linked to others outside of Lincolnshire, mainly around the A1 corridor.

“The offences at Gosberton and Bicker are still under active investigation and, as a result, we were able to take action that I believe resulted in the series of thefts being brought to an end.

“I know these offences cause considerable distress in our communities, offences against our heritage and places of worship have particular impact.

“We know that the financial cost can be £60,000 or more, but the feeling of vulnerability and loss cannot be quantified.”

He said the majority were in the West and South of the County, with the main series of offences ending during June after the police breakthrough.

One person has been arrested and is currently on bail to Grantham Police Station whilst further inquires are being progressed, said Chief Inspector Vickers.

“Although it’s not possible to talk about everything we are doing as our enquiries progress, we can say that 31 offences of this nature are far too many and we would continue to ask people to call us if, and when, they see anything suspicious.”