Lincolnshire Police has made progress in tackling metal thefts in the county, with a 27.7% reduction in crime numbers in the first six months of 2012.
Also, three Eastern European men have pleaded guilty to stealing lead from churches across Lincolnshire at Lincoln Crown Court this week.
Lincoln residents Tadas Andruska (35), Andrius Cereska (30) and Andrius Kvedavas (30) admitted charges of conspiring to steal lead.
They will be sentenced later this year.
Police say the reduced crime figures are due to a combination of efforts from officers and members of the public.
Scrap metal dealers are now working with police and requesting photo ID from customers, which makes it harder for criminals to dispose of stolen metal.
Police say members of the public are now regularly reporting suspicious incidents involving rogue scrap collectors.
Officers on the streets are instructed to stop and challenge these vehicles under the ‘Stop a Scrapper’ initiative.
This has led to more arrests and more vehicles being seized than in previous years.
In the last week a 16-year-old youth was charged with handling stolen goods after being stopped by officers with stolen copper and lead from a house in Gainsborough.
In addition, a 24-year-old man was arrested and charged with theft, after his vehicle was stopped in Whaplode and he was found with two stolen copper cylinder tanks.
Protecting the county’s heritage
Sergeant Marc Gee of Lincolnshire Police said: “Some of the offences have seen the theft of parts of our heritage that can never be properly replaced.
“We will continue to prioritise metal theft to reduce the figures even further, but this can only be done through the help of the general public.
“There are many legitimate scrap metal collectors who can be contacted and arrangements made to pick up any unwanted items.
“We would urge people to report any suspicious incidents in their area and keep any metal items secure to prevent them from being stolen.”