Three men have been charged in connection with a series of flagstone thefts from eight churchyards across the North-West of England.
28 year old Connor Lipinski and Owen Lipinski who's 31, both of Rochdale and 48 year old Jason Perry from Oldham have been charged with conspiracy to steal. They'll appear at Chester Crown Court on 25 August.
They were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the theft of valuable York paving stones from historic buildings. York stone is highly regarded and can be worth thousands of pounds.
The first theft was reported by Ormskirk Parish Church in Lancashire in February.
Officers from Cheshire Constabulary's Rural Crime Team were assisted by colleagues from Lancashire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Greater Manchester Police to conduct warrants at addresses in Middleton, Oldham and Rochdale.
Police Constable Rob Stordy from Cheshire Constabulary's Rural Crime Team said:
"Not only do thefts of historic stone destroy our rich history, but it impacts the heart of our rural communities.
"It's important that we collaborate with other forces to investigate these crimes, share information and work together to get justice for our rural communities.
"I want to make it known that Cheshire is and will continue to be a hostile environment for those intent on committing heritage crime and I hope our efforts today demonstrate our pursuit in disrupting criminality by using any means necessary."