IHBC’s ‘Heritage from the doorstep’: 27 months jail for lead theft from Selby Abbey roof – by the York Press

websiteThe York Press has reported on how a metal thief, whose gang caused nearly £10,000 damage to Selby Abbey’s roof, has been jailed for 27 months.

York Press writes:

Nathan Luke Hallsworth, 33, was one of at least five men who travelled from West Yorkshire in a van in the middle of the night on November 29, said Mehran Nassiri, prosecuting. They stripped 25 square metres of lead off the roof of the 900-year-old Grade I historic building before police spotted them in the act and prevented them driving off with their loot. Despite fleeing through nearby gardens where their noise woke residents, the officers found and arrested three of them an hour later: Hallsworth, Jordan James Eastwood, and a juvenile.

After sunrise, the Abbey authorities discovered the thieves had ripped off the entire roof of one of its chapels and water was falling into the kitchen. They estimated it would cost £9,165 to repair the roof, York Crown Court heard. Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said the gang had deliberately targeted a historic asset, knew the effect of their actions on Selby Abbey would be considerable, and had intended to sell the lead at a scrap merchants for cash.

Hallsworth, of Wensleydale Parade, Batley, pleaded guilty to theft on the day he was due to stand trial and was jailed for 27 months. The judge said he was a leading member of the gang and had a long record for theft and dishonesty. Eastwood, 18, of Bridle Place, Ossett, Wakefield, who was 17 at the time of the raid and pleaded guilty at his first court hearing, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years on condition he does 35 days’ rehabilitative activities and 140 hours’ unpaid work. The juvenile was dealt with by a youth court. For Hallsworth, Andrew Nixon said he had learnt from his crime and had written to the Abbey to apologise. For Eastwood, Andrew Semple said he had gone along with the others.


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