Birmingham man jailed after admitting to theft of church roof lead in Cratfield

Eleven gardens will be open for Cratfield Open Weekend.

Eleven gardens will be open for Cratfield Open Weekend. - Credit: Archant

A lead thief who stole sheeting to the value of £4,500 has been jailed for 34 weeks.

Samson Stancu

Samson Stancu - Credit: Archant

Samson Stancu, 20, of Deakins Road in Birmingham was arrested on July 31, and under interview admitted to the stealing lead from the roof of St Mary’s Church in Cratfield in December last year.

The sheets have a scrap value of around £4,500.

Stancu was remanded in custody and appeared before magistrates in Worcester on Monday, where he pleaded guilty.

He has been handed a jail term of 34 weeks.

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The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich said; “We are extremely grateful to the police for their hard work.

“The impact within the community of thefts and vandalism on much-loved and valued church buildings cannot be underestimated.

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“Our churches should be the heart of our communities and I am pleased the church at Cratfield is now repaired and can, once again, thrive and make a difference in their area.”

Acting Detective Sergeant Thomas Darville said that DNA was recovered from items at the scene that identified Stancu, and added: “Arrest attempts were made at his home address, and information was received that he may be out of the country.

“The address checks continued despite him proving elusive and he was detained by West Mercia Police on Sunday, who interviewed him on behalf of Suffolk Police.

“He was then charged with the Cratfield offence, remanded, pleaded guilty and was sentenced within 24 hours.”

The sentence comes after a high profile campaign run by the East Anglian Daily Times and sister paper the Eastern Daily Press to stop thieves targeting the region’s churches, although Stancu only admitted to the Cratfield theft and has not been investigated as part of any other incident.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I’m very pleased to see a successful conviction for the lead theft at Cratfield.

“The lead thefts across Suffolk have been a serious concern to many people for some time and I find it particularly sad when our beautiful churches are desecrated in this way.”

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