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History

Man arrested after trying to steal Magna Carta from UK cathedral

  • The parchment has become an enduring symbol of the rule of law and the document on display at the cathedral is one of four original copies
PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 8:27pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 8:27pm

British police said on Friday they have arrested a man suspected of trying to steal a Magna Carta from its display case at Salisbury Cathedral.

Wiltshire Police said cathedral alarms sounded on Thursday afternoon when a person tried to smash the glass box surrounding the Magna Carta.

The Magna Carta has become an enduring symbol of the rule of law. The document on display at the cathedral is one of four surviving original Magna Cartas.

Police say the Magna Carta was not damaged and no one was hurt during the incident.

“A man matching the description given by witnesses was arrested on suspicion of attempted theft, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage,” Wiltshire police said in a statement.

The 45-year-old suspect has not been identified or charged.

Police said the man matched a description given by witnesses. Officials have asked other eyewitnesses to come forward with details.

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One of the most important manuscripts in English history, the Magna Carta is a charter of citizens’ rights curbing the arbitrary power of medieval kings which among other things guaranteed the right to a fair trial.

King John agreed to place his seal on the document in June 1215 at Runnymede near Windsor, west of London, as a means of ending an uprising by rebel barons.

Additional reporting by Reuters