Thief desecrated church where Robin Hood reputedly married Maid Marian

St Mary's Church in Edwinstowe
St Mary's Church in Edwinstowe

A scrap metal thief was jailed for desecrating a church that was central to the Robin Hood legend during the course of his crime.

Jobless Jordan Peacock was on the roof of St Mary's in Edwinstowewhen caught by 24-hour surveillance set up to protect the church, which is on a national list of the UK's most important buildings.

While stealing lead, he left a hole in the roof of 12th century building - letting in the rain and leading to a £1,000 repair bill, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Judge James Sampson jailed him for four months and said: "It is a church, our heritage and a desecration.

"This is a Grade One listed parish church dating back to 1175, restored in 1869 and 1890. It is part of a heritage visit by tourists who come to see the church because it is said to be where Robin Hood and Maid Marian had their wedding.

"All of that I am sure is pretty meaningless to you. You had no hesitation whatsoever in going onto the church roof and taking whatever lead you could. This is a serious offence."

The judge said he would have liked to order 22-year-old Peacock to pay for repairs but added: "I suspect an order for compensation would be pointless."

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said the church has anti-crime cameras which offer "crystal clear images" as well as 24-hour monitoring. At 4pm on September 2, the alarm was raised.

"The church warden was told the defendant was on the roof.

"As a result, lead was taken from the roof which was damaged because rain got in before repairs could be done," added Miss Leonard.

The court heard that Peacock is currently in jail for other thefts and had been due to be freed on September 16.

The fresh prison term will be added on at the end of that.

He admitted theft of lead from the church when he faced Mansfield magistrates on April 5.

Chris Aspinall, mitigating, told the court: "It is no more serious than an attack on somebody's house where lead is taken."

Peacock had several previous convictions including for the theft of car batteries, alloy wheels and scrap metal.

Mr Aspinall said Peacock was "entitled to a significant discount" because he had immediately pleaded guilty the theft of lead.