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UK News

Man found guilty of spree of church lead thefts

by Sophie Drew

A 26-year-old man from Ilford, has been found guilty of stealing lead sheeting from 15 churches in various counties throughout the UK. 

The jury at Lincoln Crown Court found Madalin Gabriel Prundaru guilty on all 18 counts of theft. 

Churches targeted in Lincolnshire included St Nicholas Church at Walcot, which experienced thefts twice in late August 2016. Other affected churches were St Botolph's in Newton and the Church of St Denys in Kirkby la Thorpe near Sleaford, as well as St Andrew's Church at Witham on the Hill earlier in 2016. 

An additional eleven churches across the Midlands were also targeted.

The crimes, which took place between May and August 2016, resulted in an estimated £461,000 worth of damage to the affected churches.

During his testimony, Prundaru stated that he arrived in the UK in October 2015 and initially worked in construction. Later, he was offered night work by a man who visited his mother's home. 

Prundaru claimed he was told it was "construction" work involving old buildings requiring repairs. "I trusted him, so I went wherever he did," he said.

Prundaru admitted to being paid £25 for each job and that his role consisted of loading metal into a vehicle after it was passed to him by others, BBC News reports.

However, he insisted that it was too dark for him to see where the material came from.

Judge James House KC has adjourned Prundaru's sentencing until April 28 for the preparation of a probation report and granted him conditional bail.

In doing so, the judge clarified that ordering a report does not indicate what type of sentence will be given. 

This case highlights a concerning trend of thefts targeting churches and underscores the need for increased security measures in these sacred spaces.

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