Trio plead guilty to stealing lead from churches in Grantham and beyond

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THREE Lithuanian men face jail sentences after they pleaded guilty to stealing lead from churches in Grantham and across Lincolnshire.

Tadas Andruska, 35, Andrius Cereska, 30, and Andrius Kvedavas, 30, were remanded into custody after they admitted a charge of conspiring to steal lead belonging to the the Church of England.

The trio entered their guilty pleas through Lithuanian interpreters during a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court.

All three men were arrested earlier this year after police executed synchronised search warrants at four addresses in Lincoln.

Police made the arrests after a six-month intelligence-led operation into metal thefts from 22 churches across Lincolnshire between the January 1 and September 24, last year.

Rural churches targeted include those in Aslackby, Great Gonerby, Fulbeck, Hougham and Newton.

According to Ecclesiastical, which is the main Church of England insurer, Lincolnshire was second only to Essex for metal thefts during 2011.

Andruska, of Roman Pavement in Lincoln, Cereska, of Laceby Street in Lincoln, and Kvedavas, of Maple Street in Lincoln, were all remanded into custody by Judge Michael Heath.

They will be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court later this year.

Two other men from Lincoln denied the charge of conspiracy and will go on trial at Lincoln Crown Court in August.

A sixth man from Lincoln denied a charge of handling stolen lead belonging to the Church of England and will also go on trial later this summer.