Norwich man jailed after admitting attempting to steal lead from Coltishall church roof

Coltishall church Picture: David Bale

Coltishall church Picture: David Bale - Credit: Archant

A 20-year-old man caught red-handed attempting to steal lead from the roof of a church has been jailed.

Police were called to St John the Baptist Church, in Church Street, Coltishall after the warden heard noises coming from the roof.

Lead was found by police on the floor at the back of the church which appeared to have come from the roof.

Pieces of lead were found bent upwards on the roof, where officers found Ross Martin 'laying' there.

Martin, of St James Close, Norwich, was sentenced to 12 months in a Young Offenders Institute (YOI) at Norwich Crown Court after previously having admitted criminal damage, possession of a bladed article and attempting to steal lead on Wednesday, April 26.

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At a previous hearing at Norwich Magistrates Court in April Martin also admitted breaching a conditional discharge imposed in 2015 for possessing an offensive weapon.

Magistrates were told Martin had been with other friends who had jumped from the roof but said he was 'too large to come down'.

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He was arrested and, when searched, was found to have a Stanley knife in his pocket.

Annette Hall, representing Martin at Norwich Magistrates Court, said her client had 'an awful lot of issues' and was a 'mess' due to the state of his mental health.

She said he had 'gone along' with a suggestion made by others because he has mental health issues.

Miss Hall said he did not take the knife with him but was handed it by another person while on the roof and then put it in his pocket.

Martin, who wore a dark-coloured t-shirt, became emotional during the hearing and asked repeatedly if he could go home and see his family.

He apologised for the outburst but said he was 'scared' and did not want to be there.

A man aged in his 30s and a woman in her 20s were also arrested in connection with the incident.

A spokesman for Norfolk police said both the man and the woman have been released from custody but remain under investigation while the enquiry continues.

This newspaper has a campaign called 'Stop The Roof Raiders' which aims to raise awareness of this region-wide issue.

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