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A gang of thieves have been arrested after stealing hundreds of crucifixes from graves.

Six people were detained after cemeteries were targeted by grave robbers in Spain.

The Toledo-based operation resulted in hundreds of statuettes of Christ being smashed off gravestones.

Family tombs were even melted down for scrap metal.

Four people were arrested on suspicion of theft and two other people were accused of receiving stolen goods.

As many as 2,000 crosses were reportedly removed from the targeted graves.

Police resolved 19 specific cases of theft during ongoing attempts to retrieve the goods.

Officers recovered a total of 90 intact crosses stolen from El Casar de Escalona cemetery.

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Police retrieved the items following a raid at an industrial estate in the Madrid region on Sunday.

Officers found crucifixes weighing a ton during the search.

A solid silver crucifix, documents related to the scrap bronze sales and £14,800 in cash were also found.

Thieves used a metal pulverising mill to smash the crucifixes into small pieces.

They then transported the goods to another site to be melted down before selling them on.

Milagros Tolón, the delegate of the government of Spain in the Castilla-La Mancha region, congratulated the police on their “tremendous work”.

She also claimed the case resulted in “understandable social alarm”.

The six men will appear in court on Monday.

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