A MARRIED couple have been detained for the theft of nearly half a million euros worth of statues and ornaments from cemeteries in central Spain.
The pilfering pair are allegedly responsible for 27 robberies in 21 municipalities in Toledo province, near Madrid.
Three other women have been arrested for receiving the stolen goods at a recovery centre in Humanes (Madrid).
Attention was brought to the Guardia Civil in February, as communities reported missing items from local cemeteries.
Investigations revealed identical modus operandi, assuming the same people were responsible.
Dozens of identical items were stolen, such as crosses, figures of saints and virgins, candlesticks, etc.
Operation Crucix led agents to a man and wife in the Toledo town of Guadamur, via a number of junkyards and recycling centres.
Ornamental figures weighing over 700 kilograms were found at one centre in Humanes, Toledo.
An even bigger haul of mainly bronze statues, weighing over 1500 kilograms, was found hidden in a Guadamur registry.
Sources reveal that the value of the haul was around 450,000 euros.
It included 861 crosses in total, all believed to be stolen by the couple, who were already well-known to police.