Metal thefts spiked in recent months as the price of scram metal rocketed
Lincolnshire Police have arrested three Lincoln men with conspiracy to steal lead from over 20 churches in the county.
The men were arrested when officers used synchronised warrants at four addresses in Lincoln, after a six-month intelligence operation.
Three were arrested on the morning of February 28, and subsequently charged with thefts and conspiracy to steal, while a fourth is on police bail pending enquires.
Tadas Andruska (35), of Roman Pavement, Andrius Cereska (30) from Laceby Street, and Andrius Kvedavas (29), of Maple Street, were all charged with conspiracy to steal in relation to the theft of metal from 22 churches.
This is in addition to a charge for lead theft at a church in Sutterton last year between April 15 and April 18, and a charge of lead theft from a church in Little Dalton, Leicestershire, last year.
The fourth local man (39) was arrested, questioned and released on police bail.
The offenders will be appear in Grantham Magistrates Court on March 1.
Lincoln is among the top areas in the country affected by metal thefts from churches, particularly lead, according to a report from last year.
After it is stolen, the lead is passed on illegally to underground scrap dealers, who sell it on. Eventually, it makes its way on to the construction marketplace.
Anyone with information on crime in the city should contact Lincolnshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.