Arrests after stolen abbey lead is traced

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A MAN and a woman have been arrested as the hunt hots up to track the criminals who stole £2,000 worth of lead from the roof of historic Newstead Abbey.

As reported in the Dispatch, thieves struck twice at the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron.

In late November, distinctive and irreplaceable lead drainage downpipes and the square brackets holding them were taken.

Then, earlier this month, between 5 pm on Monday December 5 and 8.30 am on Tuesday December 6, thieves made it on to the roof and stripped metal.

As part of an investigation, detectives have found some of the lead from the roof of the abbey in the back garden of a home in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and also inside a Vauxhall Vectra car. The suspects, who are both aged 23, have been quizzed.

It has also been revealed that a scrap-metal merchant in Mansfield has alerted police to some suspicious lead that had been taken to him. This turned out to be part of the haul stolen from the abbey.

Sgt Jimmy Rimmington, of the police, said: “We would like to urge scrap-metal dealers to be on the lookout for any material being taken into them with dubious origins and report it to us immediately.”

In relation to the abbey thefts, he said: “We are now making further inquiries into locating the perpetrators.”

After the thefts at the abbey, Ken Purslow, chairman of the Newstead Abbey Byron Society (NABS), criticised security at the building, which is the Dispatch district’s premier tourist attraction.

He added that owner Nottingham City Council must take action before thieves realised valuable materials at the abbey had little protection and targeted it more regularly.

Anyone with information about the lead thefts is asked to call the police on the new non-emergency number of 101.

Alternatively, ring the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.