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paving stones stolen.jpg
Cheshire Constabulary
paving stones stolen.jpg
Cheshire Constabulary
World News

Arrests made after thieves steal church paving slabs

by Sophie Drew

Following a spate of thefts, targeting churches across the North West, police have arrested three men.

Historic paving stones were stolen from outside Astbury's St Mary's Church on March 3. 

In a joint operation between Staffordshire Police, Lancashire Police, Cheshire Constabulary, and Greater Manchester Police, dawn raids were carried out. 

In order to gain access to one of the properties, police cut the door in two. 

Three men were arrested - a 48-year-old man from Oldham is currently in police custody. 

Two other men from Manchester, aged 35 and 27, were also detained and have since been released under investigation.

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "Today officers have arrested a 48-year-old man from Oldham on suspicion of theft. He is currently in police custody for questioning.

"The arrest formed part of a joint operation with Cheshire Constabulary's rural crime team, Staffordshire Police, Lancashire Police and Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

"Two men, aged 27 and 35, both from Manchester were also arrested on suspicion of theft and have been released under investigation."

Further incidents of paving stone theft have been recorded across the area, but police have not confirmed whether the incidents are linked. 

Churches in Staffordshire, Halsall and Ormskirk all saw valuable slabs stolen within three weeks of each other. 

The damage to St Mary's Church has been described as "significant."

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