Norwich men jailed after stealing copper from Wymondham Abbey

Two men who stole �53 worth of copper from Wymondham Abbey – but caused �2,500 worth of damage in the process – have been jailed.

Michael Cubley, 23, and Dean Diggens, 25, both of Woodhill Rise, Norwich, targeted the abbey at some point between January 23 and 27.

Cubley stripped 12 kilos of copper from a crypt area and then transported it back to Norwich in a stolen Toyota. He then enlisted the help of Diggens to take the copper to a scrapyard where they sold the metal.

Richard Paterson, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, said that replacing the copper would cost the abbey �2,500 and cheaper roofing felt had instead been used.

Cubley pleaded guilty to the theft of copper, driving while disqualified and taking a vehicle without consent, while Diggens admitted handling stolen goods and allowing himself to be carried in a stolen car.

Both men had long criminal records, including offences of dishonesty.

Representing Cubley, Michael Clare said he had suffered a recent bereavement and his head had been 'scrambled' at the time of the offence.

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He said Diggens had been asked to help by his friend and was paid �20.

Sentencing Cubley to serve 10 months in prison and Diggens to six months, judge Peter Jacobs said: 'When churches are targeted the insurance premiums go up which is what has happened at Wymondham Abbey.

'It's not the value of the metal which counts, it's the cost of replacing it.'