Metal theft 'significant problem' for Lincolnshire
The number of metal thefts from churches and buildings in Lincolnshire has risen sharply in the past year, police have said.
Lincolnshire Police said it was a significant problem that now accounted for 15% of reported crime.
Ch Insp Mark Housley, from the force, said the problem had been made worse because some criminals viewed metal theft as an easy option.
He said it was a crime which affected all areas of the county.
"The victims range from farmers to churches and the offenders range from organised groups through to your opportunist thief, who would normally break in to your shed or garage," Mr Housley said.
"They've now migrated to metal theft because they see it as easy money."
He said the force was using every piece of legislation to tackle illegitimate metal dealers.
Metal theft now accounts for one in seven crimes in Lincolnshire, with more than 50 churches having been targeted by lead thieves in 2011.