Man arrested over attempted theft of Magna Carta

A man has been arrested after he allegedly tried to steal Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral

A man has been arrested on suspicion of trying to steal a Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral.

Anyone with information should call Wiltshire Police on 101 quoting the crime reference number 541800101438.

"He walked out of the Chapter House and tried to leave the cathedral via our work yard and he was detained there and restrained until the police arrived", the Very Rev. Nick Papadopoulos, the dean of Salisbury, told the BBC.

The 1215 copy of the Magna Carter is undamaged, police said. The document has been taken off display (left, the empty case) while police investigate.

"It looked like some men play-fighting but as they got through the gates I saw a hammer drop to the floor and one of the men kicked it into the road whilst another man held on to him", the eyewitness said.

A man matching witnesses' descriptions was arrested on suspicion of attempted theft, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage.

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Salisbury Cathedral, which has been central to the Skripal poisoning case this year after Russian agents said they were visiting it's "world-famous 132m spire", proudly boasts of the iconic piece of history on its website.

Only four known copies of the document exist, with the version held at Salisbury considered by historians to be the best-preserved.

Meaning "great charter" in Latin, it is one of England's most celebrated historic documents.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque at Runnymede, England, during a commemoration ceremony Monday June 15, 2015, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

The document, granted by King John in 1215, established the principle that the king was subject to the law, rather than above it.

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