A LEAD thief has been sentenced to carry out 160 hours of community work after being caught stealing cladding from rooftops in Knowle and Dorridge.
Michael Craig, from Northfield, took lead valued at around £500 from Dorridge Village Hall and a number of shops adjacent to Knowle High Street.
And at Solihull Magistrates Court on Wednesday, May 5 he was ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work in the community and pay compensation to his victims.
The 21-year-old was arrested by police in Earlswood following a vehicle spot check on the morning of April 14. Officers uncovered a significant quantity of lead which Craig, who’d taken his girlfriend’s car without her consent, admitted stealing just a few hours earlier.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of lead theft and asked for another similar offence to be taken into consideration. He also admitted taking a vehicle without the owner’s permission.
Investigating officer DC Tim Kennedy said Solihull Police are working closely with the region’s scrap metal merchants in order to stamp out lead thefts.
He added: “Scrap metal merchants in the area and on board with us and have been told to report anything suspicious brought to them…we want to starve metal thieves of potential buyers.
“Lead theft is sometimes viewed as a ‘victimless crime’ – but that’s not the case and it’s an offence we take seriously. Damage caused by taking roof cladding tends to be far more costly than the value of the stolen lead itself. And often it is older properties like churches or village halls – places least equipped to pay repair bills – that are targeted.
“Victims often don’t know they’ve been targeted; the first they know is when it pours with rain and they suffer flood damage. That can run to many thousands of pounds.”
Anyone offered scrap metal for sale, including lead, and are suspicious of its origin are urged to contact Solihull Police on 0845 113 5000.