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Man denies 18 church lead thefts including four from Lincolnshire

A man has gone on trial accused of stealing lead sheeting from 15 churches across the Midlands including four in Lincolnshire.

Madalin Gabriel Prundaru, 26, of Redbridge Lane East, Ilford, is on trial at Lincoln Crown Court and denies 18 charges of theft.

All the offences are alleged to have occured during a spate of attacks by groups of men on churches between May and August, 2016.

Among those churches in Lincolnshire which were targeted is St Nicholas Church at Walcot, near Folkingham, which allegedly fell victim to thieves twice in late August 2016.

Two other churches near Sleaford, St Botolph's in Newton and St Denys’ Church in Kirkby la Thorpe, were also allegedly targeted around that same period, along with St Andrew's Church at Witham on the Hill earlier in 2016.

Eleven other churches are alleged to have fallen victim to lead thefts.

They include two churches in Oxfordshire, St Andrew's Church in Kingham and St Giles’ Church at Wigginton, and St Nicholas’ Church in Fyfield, Wiltshire.

Two churches in Northamptonshire, including St Margaret's Church at Luddington, which was allegedly struck twice, and St Andrew's Church at Cotterstock.

Two churches in Rutland, including St Mary's at Manton and St Edmund's at Egleton.

And four churches in Leicestershire. They include St Mary's at Wyfordby, St Mary's at Garthorpe, All Saints Church in Beeby and St Peter and Paul's Church at Sywell which was allegedly struck twice.

Giving evidence Prundaru told the jury he came to the UK in October 2015 and briefly worked in construction before being offered some nightwork by a second man who came to his mother's home.

Prundaru said he was only told it was "construction."

"He (the other man) said 'it was old buildings and we needed to take stuff off to repair them.' "I trusted him, so I went wherever he did," Prundaru explained.

Prundaru said he was paid £25 for each job.

"He (the other man) never said it was theft."

Prundaru said the first time he learnt the other man was involved in theft from churches was when he was told by the police.

When asked why he made no comment in his first police interview Prundaru replied that he had been warned by the other man 'don't say anything to them.'

The trial continues.

Read more information here from the Stamford Mercury


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