Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 16:49 UK

Third arrest over plaque thefts

Plaque in four pieces with police officer
The plaque recovered first was stolen on Sunday night

A third person has been arrested after three plaques stolen from a Devon war memorial were found in Somerset.

Four bronze plaques were taken from Plymouth Hoe sparking outrage across the city and further afield.

One was recovered in Plymouth in four pieces on Wednesday. The other three were found on Thursday. Two are intact and one has been damaged.

The 31-year-old man from Cheltenham has been bailed and will report back to the police station on 12 September 2008.

Two men arrested in Plymouth on Wednesday have also been released on bail.

The men, aged 37 and 39, were arrested after a search at a house in the city and have been bailed to return to Charles Cross police station on 3 September.

Damage inspected

The first of the plaques, listing the names of the city's war dead, was stolen from the naval war memorial on Plymouth Hoe just hours after a Veterans' Day event on Sunday.

The theft of a further three plaques was discovered on Tuesday morning by a sculptor who is restoring the memorial on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

One plaque recovered by officers on Wednesday had been cut into four pieces and someone had tried to grind some of the names away.

A scrap metal dealer in the Plymouth area contacted police and the plaque was recovered from him.

Veterans and families of serving personnel have angrily condemned the theft of the plaques, which are valued at about 2,000 each.

Representatives of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are to visit Plymouth to inspect the damage.


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