Jail for church thefts

Four men have been sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court for stealing from Somerset churches. Readers may recall a spate of thefts of lead from church roofs between May 2018 and March 2020. In all they pleaded guilty to 36 offences. Between them they removed 36 tonnes of lead from Somerset church roofs. In all it is reckoned that £1m of damage was done to these churches, all graded listed monuments.

Churches that suffered included:

  • Barrington (pictured below),
  • Bradford on Tone,
  • Bridgwater,
  • Glastonbury,
  • Goathurst,
  • Ilton,
  • Pitminster,
  • South Petherton 

Constantin Motescu, 32, of Stebbings, Sutton Hill, Telford, admitted 23 charges of theft. He was jailed for six and a half years.

Laurentiu Sucea, 38, of George Street, Birmingham, admitted 13 thefts. He was also jailed for six and a half years.

Paul Buica, 25, of George Street, Birmingham, admitted 16 thefts. He was jailed for six years. three years and seven months.

Mihai Birtu, 24, of Port Street, Evesham, admitted 14 thefts. He was jailed for three years and seven months.

Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Cannon is from Operation Remedy, the Avon & Somerset Police team targeting burglary, drug and knife crime. He said: “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.”


  • After what they have done to so many communities, I trust that they will be deported to their homeland at the end of their sentences.

  • Damage to the fabric of these buildings far exceeds the scrap value of the lead stolen, or the ability of the culprits to compensate for the loss.

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