Greek village priest held over church treasure dig

Jan 27, 2012, 9:58 AM

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) – Police in northern Greece have arrested a village priest and a church elder for allegedly digging for treasure in the chancel of the church.

A police statement Friday says villagers complained of loud drilling noises late Thursday from the church at Fyska near Kilkis, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Thessaloniki.

Officers found a two-by-one-meter (six-by-three-foot) hole in the chancel of the 150-year-old church of the Prophet Elijah. Police are seeking four other people suspected of taking part in the illegal dig _ in which a pneumatic drill was used.

Illegal treasure hunting has increased amid Greece’s acute financial crisis. In recent months, police have made a string of arrests, mainly in the north of the country, and located several tunnels.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Greek village priest held over church treasure dig