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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Church bells saved from scrapyard
Merton bells
Parishioners offered an 11,000 reward for their return
Stolen church bells are to be returned to Devon after being found in a Manchester scrap merchants.

The three bells, worth about 30,000, were stolen from a restoration workshop in Tavistock on 13 August.

Restorer Peter Baisley travelled to Manchester to confirm they belonged to All Saints Church in Merton.

The scrap merchant told police the bells were left outside his gate and, after doing an internet search, he suspected they were the stolen bells.

Thieves used a forklift to force open a door to the workshop where the bells were being restored, before dragging them away.

Reward offered

Parishioners had raised thousands of pounds towards the restoration.

They were concerned the 70% copper bells would be melted down and had offered an 11,000 reward for their return.

Church warden Mike Ford said it was "fantastic news" they had been found.

Devon and Cornwall Police said no arrests had been made.

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